Baltimore's two Division I-AA football programs enter the national letter of intent signing period that begins Wednesday on different footing.
Morgan State is hoping it has a head coach by then. The Golden Bears have been without a leader since Dec. 7, when Ed Wyche was fired after his third season ended in a 1-10 record. Athletic director Leonard Braxton said that seven candidates were interviewed last week, and that a hiring could be announced before the end of this week.
"I'll know something real soon," Braxton said. "Even though we don't have a head coach right now, we're still out there recruiting."
Bubba Green, an assistant coach for the last six years, was out of the office Friday recruiting prospects for the coming season. Morgan State is coming off of its 12th straight losing campaign.
Towson State also is coming off a shaky season; the Tigers slumped to 2-9 and the administration nearly suspended the program. Coach Phil Albert has brought in three junior college transfers, and they'll be among the more than 90 players at TSU when spring practice begins April 8. He hopes to sign anywhere from five to 10 high school prospects this week.
"Because of the mess last fall [when Towson considered dropping football for budgetary reasons], we had a lot of repair work to do with the program," Albert said. "The junior college kids will give us a shot of added maturity, especially on defense."
Enrolled at Towson State for the spring semester are Mike Curcio, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive lineman from Commack, N.Y., who attended Nassau Community College, and Dan Smith, a 6-1, 230-pound linebacker who played at Dean Junior College in Franklin, Mass. The other transfer is wide receiver Steve Wilkerson, who did not play at Montgomery-Rockville last year.
Towson State has gotten a verbal commitment from 280-pound defensive tackle Billy Fisher, who spent two years at Minnesota. He went to Cherry Hill East (N.J.) High, and is currently attending Camden County College. The Tigers' defense also will get help from Mark Connell, who practiced with the Tigers last fall after transferring from East Carolina. A 6-3, 245-pounder, he went to Bishop Walsh High in Cumberland.
Two former Towson State standouts, Dave Meggett and Sean Landeta, played for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and Albert is using that to sell high school recruits on the Tigers.
"I spent a few days in Virginia [last week], and the Super Bowl helps," Albert said. "Several times, people said, 'I didn't realize Meggett and Landeta played for you.' That says we're not obscure. The only problem is, I don't remember Towson State being mentioned during the Super Bowl."