On Thursday afternoon, Timber Creek (NJ) cornerback Kareem Ali made it official and committed to Maryland. According to his coach Rob Hinson, Ali will enroll at Maryland in January and the paperwork has already been approved. The four-star cornerback brings a unique combination of speed and toughness that will most certainly help the Terrapins in the Big Ten. I had a chance to catch up with Ali after his announcement and here’s the transcript of the interview.
“It really didn’t hit me till this past Saturday when I did the camp. I had coach (Randy) Edsall and coach (Brian) Stewart working with me at defensive back and it felt safe and stable. I felt like I was in good hands there. It was the fans around campus telling me it was the place to be. It was just the little things. I honestly didn’t feel it at Louisville, I felt it a little bit at Pitt. I felt it at Maryland. It felt like I was at Timber Creek honestly. It felt like home. This is the place. This is where I want to be.”
What made Maryland stand out?
“Maryland has such a great support staff with coach Locksley and coach Stewart. The background of the staff is incredible. They were all NFL guys and are at Maryland to stay with the move to the Big Ten. The team went to a bowl game last year, even with losing their top two receivers. Everything that is going on there and I just love it. I love how it feels like home. Not even just me, but my parents and my head coach. My head coach (Rob Hinson) came to me and said this feels like home to me and feels like our program (Timber Creek). I totally agree. It’s not too far. My little brothers can see me play. Maryland was the place.”
Did Maryland’s move to the Big Ten factor into your decision at all?
“It did a little bit, but not that much. It just made me think that I get to play against Rutgers and Penn State. It didn’t play a major role. The ACC is a great conference too. With the Big Ten teams expanding their stadiums, that did play a role. It’s going to be B1G like they say. By any means, it’s going to be B1G. I like what coach Edsall is doing and I know we’re going to do well in the Big Ten.”
Do you talk to any of Maryland’s current players?
“I talk to Stefon (Diggs) a little bit. I haven’t talked to hardly anybody on the team. Mainly my recruiters. Coach Dunn, coach Stewart, and coach (Mike) Locksley. I talk to coach Locksley and coach Edsall. Just the whole staff.”
In terms of scheme, how do you feel that you fit in with the system that they run?
“I feel good. It’s a lot of open field and a lot of open spaces. It’s going to show my skills and abilities. I plan to do it B1G. I like their whole defense. They just got a defensive tackle commit and he’s a beast (referring to Potomac DT Keiron Howard).”
Was there any type of pressure to pick Louisville since your uncle went there?
“A little bit. He just told me that I would have support there and this is a place where I felt comfortable at. I didn’t really feel it. When I walked into Maryland, I knew it was home. I didn’t really feel it at Louisville.”