COLLEGE PARK -- Simply because he's strong and solid, it doesn't mean Larry Washington will wind up as a fullback at Maryland.
Offensive coordinator Tony Whittlesey was talking about Washington and other blue-chippers at a news conference after the Terps claimed 20 high school hotshots on the first day of the NCAA's national signing period Wednesday.
Whittlesey made it clear that Washington, the 5-foot-11, 198-pounder from Randallstown High, and the 6-foot, 200-pound Raphael Wall of Wilde Lake weren't wooed nationwide with the idea of converting them to blocking fullbacks. Color them runners.
This, according to Whittlesey, is a typical runner's list of favorite things to do: "Run, first of all. Then catch the ball, take a fake and come to the sideline for a drink of water. Blocking comes right after that."
It was just a year ago that Maryland had so few quality runners that it employed a one-back running game. Troy Jackson got most of the work, but Mark Mason came on strong at the end. Now, with Jackson, Mason, Washington and Wall, the Terps are blessed at the position.
"Washington looks like a special runner," Whittlesey said. "He has unique instincts that you don't coach. He looks like the kind that you hand the ball to 20 or 30 times a game. It's hard to do that with a fullback.
"Washington and Wall are national recruits. Of course, not every recruit makes it from the newspapers to the college turf, so we have to be guarded. But those two have everything they need to make it."
It is unlikely that both will be redshirted as freshmen. Coaches are fond of saying that players at the skill positions are most likely to help a team as freshmen.
"Wall came to our summer camps; he has a lot of quicks," said coach Joe Krivak. "He and Washington are two of the best runners in the state. We're fortunate and excited we got both.
"They'll get the chance to show their wares in camp. If they can play, they'll be in there. We also have to see how they handle the transition from high school, and the academics."
Washington chose Maryland over Tennessee, Clemson, Michigan and Georgia Tech. Wall spurned Tennessee, Notre Dame and Rutgers to come here.
"It's been a while," said Terps assistant Kurt Van Valkenburgh, who recruited Wall, "since we beat Notre Dame on a kid."
Of the four quarterbacks in the class of recruits -- John Kaleo, Greg Lister, Tom Marchese and Scott Milanovich -- two are likely to play in the fall. With Scott Zolak departing, the Terps have no experienced quarterbacks.
Kaleo is a transfer from Montgomery College-Rockville and Lister had an extra season after high school at Admiral Farragut Academy in New Jersey. Both are enrolled at Maryland now and will engage in spring practice.
Last year at this time, says assistant Jerry Eisaman, Maryland was begging good quarterbacks to join up. They said no, mainly because Krivak was in the last year of his contract.
"This year the quarterbacks called us, because our situation is stable," Eisaman said. "And all four of these guys were heavily recruited."
Marchese, a 6-3, 195-pounder from Dunmore, Pa., could be Maryland's quarterback of the future. He has a 4.0 grade-point average, and he and Milanovich are considered the best quarterbacks coming out of Pennsylvania this year.
"He's a good athlete, a top student, runs well, throws the javelin, long jumps and scored 33, 44 and 28 points in successive basketball games," Krivak said without pausing for a breath.
Yes, the coach said, this recruiting class stacks up "very nicely" with those of the recent past.
In sum, the Terps got all 20 of the recruits they expected to on the first day of the signing period. There may be one more, but first, Krivak said, "We'll have to see about his SAT scores."