Sep 08, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall along the sidelines during the third quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Maryland defeated Temple 36-27. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
1.) How big of a loss is Kareem Ali for the Terps?
Ahmed Ghafir: Certainly he’s a big loss for this class. I think he would’ve been great, although another great undersized cornerback isn’t great for a struggling secondary.
Michael Willis: It’s a big loss. Maryland’s 2015 class wasn’t blowing the roof off, and losing one of their best-rated recruits at this stage isn’t fantastic. It’s obviously not a national signing day swap, but it does slow down momentum for the Terps. Ali was poised to play right away at Maryland and against solid competition, and the perception of losing a recruit to Temple of all places, may hurt.
Steven Ulrich: Ali is a huge loss at a position that is in serious need of an upgrade. MD is already thin at the CB position & Ali was most likely to get the “2013-Likely” treatment – in that he would’ve started the season in dime packages but would have eventually worked his way up to the #2 or #3 CB by season’s end. He’s that good, and in DC Brian Stewart’s scheme, Ali’s physical attributes would have helped him thrive at a rapid pace. I don’t think anyone else follows Ali, as he had several ties to the Temple program. I can understand the connections, but as a program trying to succeed in the BIG, Maryland simply can’t lose recruits to schools such as Temple.
2.) Does Maryland have a backup plan for Ali? Will any others follow him in decommitting?
Ghafir: Right now, Maryland’s best course of action would be to put the press on Ali again. Ali raved about Maryland’s defensive system and his potential under defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. He was right; he is a great fit for this defense. Meanwhile, Temple has family ties. Although arguably the toughest thing to do is to tell a kid that that’s not as important, Maryland can get him to the NFL.
They have a slight chance with guys like Marcus Lewis and Ashton White, but these guys are all either solid commits or long shots for Maryland now. White is the best shot for Maryland, but after getting his Notre Dame offer, I think he’s a firm commit. Look for someone to emerge this upcoming season.
Willis: The short and skinny? Nope. As it stands, grabbing Ali was Maryland’s top priority and once they reigned him in, there wasn’t a need to go after anyone else. They’re going to have to look at guys like Marcus Lewis and Ashton White now, as Ahmed said. Unfortunately both those guys are long shots right now. The best bet would be doubling up on Ali. Family connection to Temple is one thing, but what’s best for his football career might sink in.
This is pure speculation, but Maryland commit D.J. Moore was very good friends with Ali. I’ll leave it at that.
Ulrich: Getting ATH Mike Majette helps (he’ll most likely play CB in college) but Ali is more physically ready for the college game. Very seldom does a recruit decommit from Maryland only to recommit before NSD, but Edsall and staff need to get Ali back if possible, especially after missing out on Marcus Lewis (UF), Ashton White (ND) & Dionte Austin (WF).
3.) Is there anyone already committed or on the roster who could change positions and play corner in a thin 2015 group?
Ghafir: With all of this said, Maryland regaining Ali or not is not the biggest loss for this class. This is exactly where Ty Johnson comes into play. The staff told him he’s a running back depending on how the upcoming season or 2015 class turns out. Well, with Ali gone, Johnson can very well be the guy that replaces him. Johnson has great speed, good footwork and can become a good slot cornerback. With Savage already committed, the class can use one lockdown cornerback to lock up the secondary.
Ulrich: Luckily Maryland received a commitment from JuCo corner Denzel Conyers, who is eligible to play this coming season. Thank goodness because by 2015, Jeremiah Johnson will be gone and Will Likely will be a JR. Behind Likely is where it gets a little depressing; Maryland would be forced to trot out Alvin Hill, Jarrett Ross, and Undray Clark. Nothing against these kids, but none have a ton of experience on the field. 2014 will be a big year for this crop, especially the young pups of the 2014 class (Josh Woods, Antwaine Carter, Daniel Ezeagwu). They need to mature quickly, otherwise Maryland might be forced to move DeAndre Lane, Taivon Jacobs, or even Will Ulmer to CB to help out in the secondary.