By now we’ve all had a night to digest yesterday’s Under Armour All-American Game, where Good Counsel four-star running back Wes Brown committed to Maryland. It’s a huge get for the Terps, not only because of Brown specifically, but because of the domino effect that might ensue.
Here’s video of his commitment, where he says something about being naive enough to be smart enough, and then makes his choice:
Brown in himself is a great player – Scout has him as the ninth-best running back in the country, Rivals puts him at #17 – so let’s focus on that for a little bit.
Standing at about 6’1″ and 200 pounds, he’s a very big back. He’s a strong runner, but probably most impressive is how quick his first step is. Brown doesn’t have outstanding top speed (he runs a 4.5 40), but he gets to that top gear very quickly and burst through the line with ease.
Here’s his tape, after the jump:
With the graduation of Davin Meggett and the transfer of D.J. Adams, this is a guy who should and (probably will) compete for the starting job from day one. His main competition will most likely be Justus Pickett and Jeremiah Wilson, who both saw limited time as third-down backs last season. But both of those guys are finesse runners, with Brown more in the Meggett mold of power running with a quick element.
So naturally just from an adding talent element, this is a big get from Maryland. But there’s so much more to this commitment.
The Terps were aided in their chances with Brown by the news that Zach Dancel was transferring to College Park. Dancel was not only Brown’s high school quarterback at Good Counsel, but Brown lives at Dancel’s house (the Dancels are Brown’s legal guardians), and the two are basically brothers. You can attribute all that to new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who recruited Dancel from Olney to New Mexico, where he played as a safety last season as a freshman.
That increases the number of Good Counsel players coming in next year to three – Brown, Dancel, and four-star offensive tackle Mike Madaras. That also increases the total number of Falcons on Maryland’s roster to…three. The Terps did not have a single player from the top program in the state on their roster this year, and if there’s a better stat highlighting the problems in the talent level at College Park, I have yet to hear it.
So with Brown, Dancel and Madaras, hopefully more will follow – over the next few years but even in this 2012 class. There’s still one big fish to catch, five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. After Brown’s commitments, some national recruiting writers have started to talk about how Diggs (along with five-star DC defensive tackle Eddie Goldman) is starting to become more and more of a possibility for the Terps.
Even if Maryland doesn’t get Diggs, or Goldman, bringing in talent like Brown only helps the Terps’ case with other top-level athletes to go to College Park, especially those from in-state. Maryland has historically suffered in attempting to keep that talent in the state, and that was even still apparent during that same Under Armour game – after Brown committed to Maryland, four-star Baltimore athlete Cyrus Jones pledge to Alabama.
At the end of the day, it’s only been a few days into the Locksley Era, Part Two, and Maryland is starting to see some major dividends. This is the time for the Terps to rebuild with some great talent, and to see them make some strides in that area is very encouraging for a team that showed very few signs of progress last year.