Heading into National Signing Day there were three highly-touted, yet uncommitted prospects, Yannick Ngakoue, Taivon Jacobs and Jacquille Veii, considering the University of Maryland that football fans hoped would commit and subsequently sign with the Terrapins.
Coming off of a season where things just seemed to snowball in a negative direction for the Terrapins there was plenty of reason for these three prospects in particular to consider leaving the area for college. The competition for these three was a who’s who of current college football powers in Florida State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Nebraska making some fans uneasy as to the likelihood of landing all three. In an effort that would have made head basketball coach Mark Turgeon proud, Randy Edsall and his staff “shot 100% from the field” yesterday by locking down the commitment of all three prospects over the course of a two hour period which had to have brought on a few gray hairs for the coaching staff.
The excitement started at 10:00 a.m. as Taivon Jacobs announced during a ceremony at Suitland HS that the two-time All-Met WR would be switching his commitment from the Ohio State Buckeyes to the hometown Maryland Terrapins. There were many factors that ended up playing into this decision to switch by the younger Jacobs (His older brother Levern is a rising sophomore on the Terrapins football team). The largest, and quite frankly more important, reason was the desire of Taivon to want to be near by his daughter which was quite telling in my opinion as to the type of man Randy Edsall and staff were able to bring on. To a lesser extent the fact that the Buckeyes had four higher ranked WR’s commit and sign with them in the past week surely played a role in this switch as well. Jacobs is a two-sport athlete who will also compete for the Maryland Terrapins track and field team in the offseason.
Next up in the gauntlet was All-American linebacker Yannick Ngakoue from Friendship Collegiate Academy. Ngakoue was a one-time Maryland commitment as he pledged to Maryland close to the same time as his HS teammates Derwin Gray, Cavon Walker and Jermaine Carter. After de-committing from Maryland Ngakoue was wooed by the South Carolina Gamecocks and Florida State Seminoles bringing a sense of worry to Terps fans who hoped to keep the All-American from Washington D.C. home.
As we all now know, Ngakoue re-committed to the University of Maryland yesterday and has signed his LOI making him officially a member of the Terps. Randy Edsall was quoted yesterday during his address to the media as having spoken with Ngakoue the night before and asking him what his decision would be before being told he would have to wait and find out on National Signing Day. After the ceremony at Friendship Collegiate Academy yesterday Ngakoue told WUSA 9’s Kevin Jones that he “knew months ago he was going to be a Terp” on an unofficial visit to the College Park, MD campus.
The final uncommitted target on the board was also a one-time Maryland commitment. Jacquille Veii had his offer pulled for a period of time due to a discrepancy on his transcript at The Avalon School in Bethesda, MD. Once that issue was sorted out internally the Terps once again extended an offer and going into the final week prior to National Signing Day appeared to be in a good position to land the speedy athlete who scored 14 touchdowns while also racking up 61 tackles and 4 interceptions his senior season.
This was all until the Nebraska Cornhuskers offered Veii very late in the process leading to Veii taking an official visit to the Lincoln, NE campus the weekend before National Signing Day. Nebraska is a program that has an aura about it which could have easily swayed Veii in their direction. He admitted yesterday after announcing his decision to stay home and play at Maryland that he had a great visit to Nebraska but “everything I need is here in Maryland…I knew Maryland was the right place for me,”.
All in all, what is normally an extremely stressful day for college football coaches could not have gone any better for Randy Edsall and his staff. Closing strong by securing commitments from Ngakoue, Jacobs and Veii in addition to not losing any prospects who were considered to be “hard commits” to Maryland is a testament to how hard this staff worked on the recruiting trail.
In the end, the major recruiting services all ranked the Terps as having a top 50 class; Rivals.com had Maryland ranked 30th, 247Sports had Maryland 31st, ESPN had Maryland 45th and Scout.com had Maryland 49th. The fact that Edsall and Co., managed to “shoot 100%” on uncommitted recruits yesterday was simply the cherry on top.