With National Signing Day, or what I like to refer to as Christmas for recruitniks like myself, on the horizon I wanted to take a closer look at three of the bigger plot lines remaining for the Terps in advance of the festivities on February 6th.
Lets start at the top with the recruit which all Terps fans hope Edsall and Locksley can land, none other than Friendship Collegiate Academy’s All-American linebacker Yannick Ngakoue. With the battle for his commitment essentially down to Maryland and South Carolina both coaching staff’s made a trip to the Washington D.C. school to give their closing arguments as to why their university, and program, would be the right fit for the prep star.
Now that both schools have had a chance to give their two cents to Ngakoue we have to play the waiting game. FCA head coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has been quoted as saying Ngakoue would most likely decide by the end of this week while holding off on the official announcement until closer to National Signing Day on Wednesday.
At this time the general feeling seems to be that Ngakoue will wind up a Terrapin whenever he chooses to make his college decision public. Maryland has been pushing the the fact that Ngakoue would be a perfect fit for Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart’s formation along with Stewart having spent time as an assistant and DC at different stops during a nine year run in the NFL. With the losses across the board at the linebacker position from last years team it is not out of the question that Ngakoue would be able to come in and be an impact player from day one for the Terrapins defense.
South Carolina has been fighting an uphill battle in trying to sell Ngakoue on the idea that he would be comfortable going to school that far away from his home. While anything can change between now and Wednesday when recruits are allowed to make their commitments official by signing their letters of intent Terrapins fans should be happy with the way this recruitment appears to have rounded out.
The story with Veii, a WR/DB from the Avalon School in Bethesda, MD, has taken a major turn this week. Maryland and Iowa had long been considered to be the front runners to land the one time Terps commitment but Nebraska threw their hat into the ring this week with an offer after losing a DB commitment. Veii had been scheduled to visit Maryland again this weekend but since he has been to the College Park campus numerous times already he informed Terps head coach Randy Edsall he would be visiting Lincoln, NE to take a look at their campus as well as what their program has to offer.
Veii is the type of athlete that could make an impact on either side of the ball, as a HS senior he amassed 18 touchdowns on only 56 touches for the Avalon School. Going into this weekend Veii appears to be wide open with regard to where he may be leaning in terms of a commitment. Prior to Nebraska getting involved the feeling was that Maryland may have held an edge on the Hawkeyes but Nebraska has sparked a genuine interest from the three-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The saga of Jacksonville, FL DT Kingsley Opara continues to play out as we inch closer to National Signing Day. After classifying himself as a soft commitment in October the biggest threat to the Terps appeared to be the Wolfpack of N.C. State. After the Wolfpack struck out in trying to lure Opara to Raleigh things looked good for Maryland as they were now in a bigger need for Opara, a member of the Florida-Times Union Super 24, to sign as Demetri McGill and the Terps parted ways.
Georgia Tech had shown interest in Opara previously, as Yellow Jackets assistant coach and Opara’s recruiter Lamar Owens paid Opara a visit on December 10th to continue his recruitment. Since Georgia Tech had not offered Opara a scholarship they were not looked at as a legitimate threat to land his signature on a national letter of intent. This all changed yesterday when Georgia Tech extended an offer to Opara. As of this being published there has not been a decision made one way or another as to whether Opara will take an official visit to the Atlanta, GA campus this weekend or not.
While it is not the be all end all, by any stretch of the imagination, if you were to look at Kingsley Opara’s bio on his twitter page (@future40million) he no longer lists himself as a Maryland commitment, and the words from Opara himself in these tweets from yesterday tell the story with regard to his perceived level of interest in Georgia Tech.
— kingsley opara (@future40million) January 31, 2013
Didn’t expect this 2 happen wow
— kingsley opara (@future40million) January 31, 2013
While it might not be the end of the world that Georgia Tech has decided to get involved with an offer this late in the game it is at least somewhat worrisome that Opara is this interested in what the Yellow Jackets could offer. This should end up being a battle that will go down to the wire, especially if word comes that Opara decides to take an official to Georgia Tech this weekend. I will be staying on top of this as well as the happenings of Jacquille Veii’s visit to Nebraska this weekend as we inch closer to the finish line for the 2013 recruiting season.