We are still a little over two months away from the 2013 college football season, and over 7 months away from National Signing Day. But following commitments from St. John’s (Washington, DC) QB Will Ulmer and St. John’s Prep (Massachusetts) RB Johnathan Thomas, the Terps look to stay hot on the recruiting trail this summer.
Maryland is off to a strong start, but some big decisions are on the horizon for some of their top targets. And if these decisions fall in favor of the Terps, it could very well take Maryland football to new heights and bring them back to national college football relevance.
Here are a few Terps targets that could possibly bring their recruitment to an end between now and the end of August. Although there is no designated decision date linked to these recruits, they have been on record saying that they would like to have a decision made before the start of their high school season. But, with 17- and 18-year old kids, everything is subject to change. And like most recruiting predictions, it is somewhat speculative. But reading between the lines, along with some whispers from insiders, here are TSMD’s predictions for recruits who look to commit this summer:
Troy Vincent – DB, Gilman HS (Baltimore, MD)
– The Battle: Maryland vs Penn State
Vincent was very close to becoming a Nittany Lion in May. But he decided to wait on pulling the trigger, and since then, Vincent has visited College Park with both his parents. Vincent, along with his father, Vincent Sr, really likes the coaching staff and the direction of the Maryland program.
But coach Bill O’Brien and staff have been on Vincent for some time now, stressing that he is an integral part of bring Penn State football back from the black eye left by the Sandusky scandal. Vincent Sr. might have a history with O’Brien from his days in New England, but in any case, the Vincent family likes what they’re hearing from Happy Valley.
Prediction: Penn State
Jesse Aniebonam – DE, Good Counsel HS (Olney, MD)
– The Battle: Maryland vs Virginia Tech
Aniebonam has been a Terps priority since his junior year in high school. He has been to campus numerous times, most recently this past weekend. His hosts were all former teammates, so it certainly helps having the likes of Zach Dancel, Wes Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Mike Madaras in his ear trying to persuade him to stay home. And with his “no nonsense” demeanor that he brings both on and off the field, it’s easy to see why Edsall wants this kid so badly.
But Maryland isn’t the only school using former teammates to lure this prized recruit to their campus. Virginia Tech, where Aniebonam will visit very soon, has been using former Good Counsel star and current Hokie Kendall Fuller as an earpiece to Aniebonam, hoping he can sway his former teammate to take his talents to Blacksburg. Aniebonam likes Bud Foster’s system, and it would seem that he could come right in and get some early playing time his freshman year as well.
Despite offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, and a slew of other top notch college programs, Aniebonam seems set on staying local for his college career. This will be a tough battle, but Aniebonam has a lot of love for the Terps right now.
Melvin Keihn – LB, Gilman HS (Baltimore, MD)
– The Battle: Maryland vs Virginia
Keihn is a familiar face amongst the local colleges. He seems to be another homegrown stud who wishes to stay local for his college career, hence his strong affinity for the Terps and Cavaliers. He is visiting Maryland this week, and he will have former teammate (and good friend) Shane Cockerille to show him around. Keihn also loves Maryland’s Engineer program, which is tops in the country.
But when you’re clashing with another school’s academic status, very few schools endure when up against the first-rate standing of Virginia. Keihn recently visited Charlottesville, and the visit went so well that he even considered committing to them. He didn’t, but the possibility proves that Virginia is a serious threat. Poindexter is a great recruiter, and coach London is an excellent closer. Add those two, plus former teammate Darius Jennings, along with Virginia’s sterling academic reputation (something Keihn is very serious about), UVA poses as a severe challenge to Maryland for Keihn’s services.
Keihn will most likely make a decision by the end of August, if not sooner. He might take a visit to Virginia Tech, but this looks to be an old fashion border war between the Terps and Caves.
Justin Falcinelli/Rick Leonard – OL/DE, Middletown HS (Middletown, MD)
– The Battle: Maryland vs Clemson
Falcinelli and Leonard are grouped together for several reasons; they attend the same high school, both blew up during the spring exposure-wise, both hold similar offers (give or take a few), and both have said that staying home for college is a serious option. First we’ll start with Falcinelli.
Justin Falcinelli has been to College Park several times, and Maryland was one of the first schools to offer him. He really likes the Maryland coaching staff, Edsall and offensive line coach Brattan in particular. But the Terps biggest competition will be Clemson. In fact, he has both the Terps and Tigers in his top two, so this one will be a doozy.
Rick Leonard is an athletic freak who has seen his recruitment take off to a higher altitude. It started with an offer from Maryland, which then resulted in an offer from Ole Miss. After that, the offers came pouring in.
Although he holds offers from the likes of FSU, Tennessee, Wisconsin, etc. Leonard (like Falcinelli) likes being close to his family and has his hometown school close to the top of his list. But unlike Falcinelli, Leonard’s recruitment could drag a little as more offers come in. He has stated that he would like to have his decision in before the start of his high school season, so we’ll see if he stands by that come August. The Terps are in great position, and both he and Falcinelli have talked about going to college together. But Leonard holds more offers from the big boys, and as we’ve seen in the past, the Terps can’t keep everyone home. Only time will tell if the 2014 class will be any different.
Tyler Burke – LB, Coatsville HS (Coatsville, PA)
– The Battle: Maryland vs Rutgers
Burke is still a bit under the radar, but he does hold offers from Maryland, Rutgers, Wisconsin (most likely his top three) along with other offers. Burke likes the Terps and their proximity to his hometown. The same can be said for Rutgers, who seems to have made Burke a priority as well.
Maryland runs a 3-4 defense, which gives Burke a chance to get on the field earlier. Plus Burke is a big fan of LB’s coach Keith Dudzinski (who has been recruiting his tail off in PA/New England). But Rutgers’ LB coach Dave Cohen also has Burke’s attention, and with Rutgers’ recent recruiting success, the Scarlet Knights might have more mojo than the Terps right now.