Until a few days ago, three-star quarterback Ramar Williams wasn't well known by Maryland fans who don't follow the local high school football scene. That's where Williams has cut his teeth as a four-year starter under center for Bishop McNamara, the Forestville school that produced five-star Maryland offensive tackle Damian Prince a few years ago.
But the 2016 prospect, despite his considerable numbers – 8,659 yards over four years, with a 62 percent completion rate and 73 touchdowns against 33 interceptions, plus 2,088 rushing yards – hasn't gotten a scholarship offer from the Terps. His current offers are from Army, Navy, Air Force, Hawaii and Robert Morris.
Williams feels passionately about Maryland. If DJ Durkin's program does offer him a spot, Williams thinks he'll be well positioned to help the program in more ways than one.
"Getting an offer from Maryland, being my hometown, it [would be] very special," he said. "I know a lot of players from this area. I played youth ball with them, and if I were to go to Maryland, I believe I would have a chance to keep players home."
Since four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins announced his flip from Maryland to Ohio Sate on Monday, Maryland recruits and players have called loudly for Williams to replace him in Maryland's class. It's been an unusually public show of support for a specific player, not just by recruits but by Williams's own coaches and even the fathers of players on other teams. One DeMatha Catholic parent emailed the other day simply to say: "Sometimes, a kid can just play."
"I talk to these guys just about every day, and just to be around these guys and receiving this love from the hometown, it's something exciting," Williams said. "I'm very humbled."
Durkin visited Bishop McNamara last Friday and met with Williams.
"Coach Durkin, he seems like a cool dude," Williams said. "I really liked his demeanor, how he approached himself. I had a very warm feeling about him. It was small talk, but at the same time, I can get a feeling for him. I think he can do big things here at Maryland as a coach."
There's still no offer. But Williams's high school coach, Keith Goganious, praised Durkin's staff for looking harder at Williams than did Randy Edsall's administration.
"You have to give them credit," Goganious said. "They are looking everywhere for talent here locally. You just have to take your hat off to them and what his staff is doing try to find guys that would fit in the program and do well."
Goganious, a former Penn State and NFL linebacker, has heard whispers of character issues on Williams's part in recruiting circles. Goganious has aimed to debunk those concerns, noting that Williams is an honor roll student and volunteers in the community. He's a McNamara captain as voted on by his teammates, and Williams said he scored a composite 23 on his ACT. He believes he'll qualify academically at any school that offers him, and Goganious has vouched enthusiastically for him.
"You can ask all the coaches in the area about what type of football player a kid is. I'm going to talk to you about his character and what he brings, his leadership and his football IQ," Goganious said. "That's what Coach Durkin and I talked about ... The intangibles are the stuff he brings to the table that a lot of kids don't have."
Williams is classified by recruiting analysts as a dual-threat quarterback, which is often a euphemism for "a quarterback who can run but not throw." Haskins is a pro-style, drop-back passer with a widely acclaimed right arm. But Goganious thinks Williams, in Walt Bell's presumed spread offense at Maryland, could thrive with his arm and his legs. Williams has also taken pro-style snaps under center during his time at Bishop McNamara.
"The good thing about it is he makes things happen offensively when he has the ball in his hands," Goganious said. "You can ask any other coaches or players that have played in our conference what they think about Ramar as a football player."
Maryland is looking into a bunch of other quarterbacks with Haskins out the door, including dual threats Lindsey Scott and Tyrrell Pigrome. The case for Williams, as he describes it, goes deeper than football itself.
"I think I would be a difference-maker, a playmaker, someone who would bring excitement and attention to the program for others who don't know about Maryland, and get people to focus in on Maryland as a whole, because there are some ballplayers in this area," he said. "People around the country don't realize that. If I went to Maryland, I could bring that excitement back and start something new, start something positive here at Maryland."
Before heading to Ohio State, Haskins and linebacker Keandre Jones sounded a similar tune. But Williams said he isn't concerned for the Terrapins' future. And while Williams said he'd have to discuss any scholarship offers with his family before committing, Maryland would be an immediate frontrunner for his signature.
"Two players do not make a whole team," he said. "Maryland can do big things if we can pull the pieces together."