By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
September 16, 2002
When the recruiting cycle for the Class of 2002 kicked into high gear last summer, Ralph Friedgen was just another new coach at another mediocre program. From Joe Krivak to Mark Duffner to Ron Vanderlinden, Maryland hadn't been to a bowl game in a decade.
By the time the Terrapins shocked the college football world with a 10-2 season, an ACC title and an Orange Bowl appearance, most of the elite 2002 prospects had long ago turned their attention elsewhere. Of the biggest national names who added Maryland to their list at some point during the season last fall, most ultimately signed with more established programs.
In the end, the Terps landed a decent class, ranked anywhere from fourth to sixth in the ACC, but probably not a great class. They hope that comes this year, with a group of prospects who watched Maryland's rise to prominence during their junior year. In particular, coaches want to repeat what was a strong defense of their home turf.
We recruited very well last year in-state, where I don't think there was one kid we wanted but didn't get, Friedgen said. If we can do that again (in 2003), we have a chance to have a very good (recruiting) year, an even better year overall.
Indeed, there's an above-average number of elite seniors this year in Maryland, which consistently produces fewer Division I-A prospects than any other ACC area state, and the Terps remain strongly in the running for all of them. Included in that group are Baltimore Gilman DE Victor Abiamiri, Burtonsville St. John's DT Conrad Bolston, Bowie High RB Barrington Edwards, Baltimore Mt. St. Joseph RB/WR Keon Lattimore, Brandywine Gwynn Park LB Wesley Jefferson and Baltimore Gilman DB Ambrose Wooden. Abiamiri's brothers Paschal and Rob play for the Terps. Maryland already has a commitment from Hyattsville DeMatha QB Ryan Mitch, who's considered a prep All-American by several analysts.
(If you missed the Sports Journal's 2002-03 football recruiting guide, a 16-page supplement to last month's Football Preview issue, please call 1-800-447-7667 to place an order. Included in that popular edition were lists of the early college favorites for the prospects in the preceding and succeeding paragraphs, plus more than 100 other top-ranked players in the ACC area.)
Many other highly regarded prospects in the ACC area list the Terrapins among their early favorites. Included in that group are Hampton (VA) Phoebus LB Xavier Adibi, Richmond (VA) Hermitage TE Duane Brown, Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove OL Shelton Bynum, Washington (GA) Wilkes DE Richard Cook, Washington (DC) Dunbar TE/LB Vernon Davis, Pickens (SC) High OL Marion Dukes, Columbus (GA) Pacelli DT Cliff Dunham, Hampton (VA) Bethel DE Chris Ellis, Cartersville (GA) High DE Andre Fluellen, Virginia Beach (VA) Salem RB Isaiah Gardner, Washington (DC) Gonzaga LB Kory Gedin, LaGrange (GA) High DB Adrian Griffin, Douglasville (GA) Chapel Hill WR Bill Grimes, Jacksonville (FL) First Coast WR Anthony Hill, Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DB Michael Hinton, Atlanta (GA) Washington DB Jeremie Johnson, Woodbridge (VA) Gar-Field OL Flordell Kissee, Virginia Beach (VA) Salem WR Shannon Lane, Avondale (GA) High DT Delaine Means, LaGrange (GA) High RB Skyler Thornton, Greenville (SC) High WR/DB Noah Whiteside and Snellville (GA) Brookwood DT Mansfield Wrotto.
Here are some updates on prominent prospects from outside the ACC region who listed Maryland among their favorites in mid-September:
Williamsport (PA) High RB Darrell Blackman, rated one of the top 25 running backs in the nation, said his top six consists of Boston College, Iowa, Maryland, Miami (no offer), NCSU (Dec. 6) and Pittsburgh. He also has offers from Indiana, Michigan State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He rushed for 2,547 yards and 35 touchdowns as a junior. He must raise a 720 SAT score to qualify.
Orange (NJ) High RB/DB Cory Boyd, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, said Maryland, Rutgers and Virginia lead NCSU and South Carolina. As a junior, he rushed for 1,785 yards on 120 carries and scored 22 touchdowns. He had 80 tackles and eight interceptions on defense.
Williamsport (PA) High DE Raymond Brooks, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, said Maryland leads Boston College, Michigan State, NCSU and Pittsburgh. Florida and Miami also are showing interest. He had 14 sacks as a junior. He must raise a 720 SAT score to qualify.
Massillon (OH) Washington DE Shawn Crable, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, said Michigan and Ohio State lead Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Southern Cal (Dec. 6) and Tennessee. He also has offers from Florida, Michigan State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas and many others. He had 73 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior. The Terps are a longshot, and Crable must raise a 15 ACT score to qualify.
Lyndhurst (OH) Brush TE Marcel Frost, rated one of the top 25 tight ends in the nation, said Boston College, Maryland and Michigan State lead Florida (no offer) and Pittsburgh. He also has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue, USC, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He had 36 receptions and scored eight touchdowns as a junior, when he was a first-team all-conference and second-team all-district selection.
Montclair (NJ) High WR Derrick Harper, rated one of the top 25 wideouts in the nation, said Maryland leads Florida, Notre Dame, USC and Virginia. He also has offers from Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, UNC, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He had 35 receptions for 800 yards and 10 TDs as a junior. He said he particularly likes the Terps' location (three hours from home) and the Cavaliers' coaching staff.
Lancaster (PA) McCaskey OL Joel Holler, rated one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the nation, said his top seven consists of Maryland, Miami (no offer), Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. He also has offers from Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Northwestern, Syracuse, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia. He has a 4.1 GPA and a 950 SAT score. His former teammate, wideout Dan Melendez, signed with the Terps last year.
Roselle (NJ) High WR Jesse Holley, rated one of the top 25 wideouts in the nation, said his top five consists of Maryland, Michigan, UNC, Notre Dame and UCLA. A two-sport star who plays shooting guard in basketball, he also has football offers from Boston College, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Ohio State and Virginia. He had 49 receptions for 870 yards and 16 TDs as a junior. He said he wants to play both sports in college but will focus on the gridiron.
Mars (PA) High DB Brad Mueller, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, said Boston College (Sept. 9) leads Maryland and Wisconsin. Duke, FSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA also are showing interest. Regarded as one of the fastest players in the state, he won Class 2A titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes last year and posted a national-best 40 time of 4.38 seconds at the Nike camp over the summer. As a junior, he rushed 162 times for 1,216 yards and 12 TDs as a tailback.
Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills DB Ryan Mundy, rated one of the top 25 defensive backs in the nation, said Michigan (Sept. 2) and Pittsburgh lead Florida, Maryland, NCSU and Virginia. He also has offers from Georgia Tech, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and West Virginia. He had 84 tackles and seven interceptions as a junior.
Pottstown (PA) High OL Brandon Nixon, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, said his top four consists of Georgia Tech (no offer), Maryland, Penn State (no offer) and West Virginia. He also has an offer from Temple. A 6-5, 320-pounder, he bench presses 380 pounds and competes in the shot put (53-6) and discus (135 feet) on the track team. He has not yet taken the ACT or SAT.
Warrensville Heights (OH) High DT David Patterson, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, said Ohio State leads Florida, Maryland, Miami (Oct. 11) and Michigan. He also has offers from Boston College, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and many others. He had 120 tackles and 16 sacks as a junior.
Strongsville (OH) High OL Dan Pribula, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, said he's still open to all of the Division I-A schools that have offered him a scholarship: Duke, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Vanderbilt. He also will consider Boston College, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Stanford, if those schools come through with an offer later. He has a 3.5 GPA and a 22 ACT score.
Camden (NJ) Wilson DE Elijah Robinson, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, said his top six consists of Maryland (no offer), Miami (no offer), UNC (no offer), Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia. He also has offers from Central Florida, Indiana, Minnesota and Temple. He had 63 tackles as a junior. He must raise a sub-820 SAT score to qualify.
Irvington (NJ) High DT Nathaniel Robinson, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, said his top five consists of Georgia, Maryland, Miami (Dec. 20), Michigan State and Virginia. He also has offers from Boston College, Iowa, Nebraska, UNC, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. As a junior, he had 76 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 14 sacks.
Piscataway (NJ) High DE Omar Savage, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, said Clemson, Maryland and Rutgers lead Temple and West Virginia. He also has offers from Boston College, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue and Wisconsin. As a junior, he had 55 tackles and six sacks. He has several relatives who live in the College Park area.
East Cleveland (OH) Shaw LB Reggie Smith, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, said Virginia leads Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State (no offer). He also has offers from Boston College, Wisconsin and a dozen other Division I-A schools. A four-year starter, he had 112 tackles and 17 sacks last season. He must raise a 2.4 GPA and/or a 16 ACT score to qualify.
State College (PA) Area TE Jonathan Stupar, rated one of the top 10 tight ends in the nation, said FSU (Oct. 26) and Virginia (Sept. 6) lead Arizona State (Sept. 27), Boston College, Iowa, Maryland, UNC and UCLA (Jan. 10). He also has offers from Duke, Michigan State, NCSU, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia. As a junior, he had 30 receptions for 350 yards and eight TDs on offense, and 75 tackles with seven sacks on defense. His father, Steve, played for Penn State (not recruiting), and his uncle is former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler. Jonathan has a 3.0 GPA and a 1,030 SAT score.
Cincinnati (OH) North College Hill DB DeJuan Tribble, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, said Boston College, Maryland and Pittsburgh lead Cincinnati, Duke and West Virginia. Ohio State and Penn State also are showing interest. A four-year starter, he had 60 tackles and 13 interceptions as a junior. He must raise a 16 ACT score to qualify.
Princeton (NJ) Hun OL Jeff Zuttah, rated one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the nation, said his top five consists of Boston College, Maryland, Miami (no offer), Notre Dame and Penn State. He also has offers from Duke, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan State, Rutgers, Temple, Virginia and West Virginia. He has a 3.0 GPA and an 1,160 SAT score.
Prospects Select Area Programs
Jacksonville (FL) Jackson OL Tripp Carroll, rated one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the nation, committed to Virginia Tech over Clemson, Florida, UNC and Ohio State. He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Duke, ECU, FSU, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, NCSU, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wake Forest and more than 30 others. He played last season at Charlotte (NC) Myers Park but transferred in August to Jackson, where his coach is his father, Gil. His girlfriend, 2002 Myers Park graduate Shannon Holberton, is a softball player for the Hokies. Carroll benches 365 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds. He has a 3.9 GPA and a 1,200 SAT score.
Williamsport (PA) Loyalsock Township OL/DT Brock Choate, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, picked Maryland over N.C. State. Clemson, ECU, Georgia Tech and Michigan State also showed interest, but childhood favorite Penn State did not. An all-area, all-district and all-conference selection as a junior, he benches 325 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 920 SAT score.
Fairfax (VA) Robinson TE John Kinzer, rated one of the top 25 tight ends in the nation, selected Virginia Tech over Ohio State, Purdue, Virginia and Wake Forest. He also had offers from Connecticut, Maryland, UNC, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. An all-state selection as a junior, he had 12 receptions for 112 yards and two TDs for the Class 3A state champions. His former teammates, tailback Mike Imoh and defensive back Cary Wade, are playing as true freshmen at Virginia Tech this fall. Kinzer, who benches 370 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds, has a 3.4 GPA and an 1,140 SAT score.
Bridgewater (VA) Ashby OL Nick Marshman, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, picked Virginia Tech over West Virginia. Maryland, UNC and UVa also showed interest. He played mostly tight end in high school but projects as an offensive lineman for the Hokies. He benches 250 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.0 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and an 810 SAT score.
Milford (OH) High FB Joe Razzano, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, chose Virginia Tech over Mississippi. He also had offers from Boston College, Central Florida, Kansas and Michigan State. He's the son of Rick Razzano, a record-setting (single-game tackles, single-season tackles, career tackles) linebacker for the Hokies in 1974-77 who went on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. His brother Ricky plays fullback at Ole Miss. Joe rushed for more than 800 yards and 12 TDs as a junior despite missing two games with a sprained ankle. He has a 2.4 GPA.
Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DE Jyles Tucker, a 2002 Wake Forest signee who failed to qualify, said he'll re-sign with the Demon Deacons. Rated the No. 12 senior in New Jersey last year despite suffering a serious knee injury, he originally chose Wake over Boston College, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Rutgers and Temple. Hargrave coaches said Tucker, who had three sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a recent game, is one of their best players this fall. He plays opposite 2002 North Carolina signee Melik Brown, a high school linebacker who has grown into a 6-4, 250-pound end.
Jyles could play for anyone, Hargrave assistant Jason Lee said. He's amazing. Anybody who was scared away by his injury last year is going to be sorry. He's big, strong and an outstanding athlete. I'll be shocked if he's not a big-time college player. Melik is really impressive, too. He just returned a fumble for a touchdown for us. They're both that combination of size and speed coaches love at that (defensive end) position.
Clifton (VA) Centreville LB Brett Warren, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, picked Virginia Tech over Marshall and Richmond. Pittsburgh also showed interest. His brother Blake is a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Hokies. His father, Donnie, played tight end for the NFL's Washington Redskins. His current teammate, offensive lineman Matt Welsh, committed to the Hokies over the summer. Centreville coach Mike Skinner called Brett the best linebacker he's coached in 23 years.
Forestville (MD) Suitland WR Deyon Williams, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Maryland, opted for Virginia over Kent State, Penn State and Pittsburgh. Boston College, Clemson, Ohio State and South Carolina also showed interest. As a junior, playing for Forestville (MD) Bishop McNamara, he had 23 receptions for 410 yards and five TDs. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds at a Nike camp, 4.42 seconds at a UVa camp. Competing for Suitland's track team last spring, he won the state Class 4A title in the 300-meter hurdles, finished second in the 110 hurdles and the long jump and placed fourth in the high jump. He must raise a 2.6 GPA or a sub-800 SAT score to qualify.
Talented Targets Head Elsewhere
Union Bridge (MD) Key TE/OL Chris Bassler, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, committed to West Virginia over Cincinnati. Maryland and Virginia also showed interest. The second football player in school history to earn a Division I-A scholarship, he's expected to play tackle for the Mountaineers, who don't utilize a tight end. He has a 3.6 GPA and an 1,180 SAT score. ... Clarksdale (MS) High OL Marcus Cohen, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Mississippi, opted for Mississippi over LSU and Mississippi State. He also had offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Memphis and Southern Miss. ... Estero (FL) High OL Derrick Morse, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, picked Miami over Clemson and UNC. He also had offers from Georgia, Indiana, Michigan State, Mississippi, Rutgers, South Carolina and Wake Forest.
Be Sure To Check Out Our Galaxy of PrepStars!