Reich's comeback big winner for Terps, too, Duffner says

January 07, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

Maryland football coach Mark Duffner says there isn't enough money in the budget to buy the amount of national publicity the Terps football program has gotten from Frank Reich's comeback win in Buffalo and the showdown between Reich and Pittsburgh's Neil O'Donnell on Saturday.

Reich started for the Terps in 1984. O'Donnell started for Maryland 1987 through 1989.

"It's priceless, you can't pay for that type of advertising," said Duffner, in his second recruiting year. "We're certainly making it a selling point. This university was known as Quarterback U long before I got here, and we're telling recruits about how we're on the road back to greatness when these guys played, and we want to retain the tradition that was here under Jerry Claiborne and Bobby Ross."

Besides Reich and O'Donnell, Maryland has three other quarterbacks on NFL rosters, including Stan Gelbaugh for the Seattle Seahawks, Scott Zolak for the New England Patriots and Boomer Esiason for the Cincinnati Bengals.

While Reich was leading the Bills Sunday in the biggest comeback in National Football League history against the Houston Oilers, Esiason was on NBC at halftime talking about O'Donnell's possible return as the starter for the Steelers.

Duffner was enjoying the moment.

It will help the Terps' in their recruiting bid for Larry Tyger, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback from St. Francis High in Athol Springs, New York, who has narrowed his choices to Maryland and Syracuse.

Also, the Terps plan to sign Pete Gonzales, a 6-1, 185-pound quarterback from Coral Park, Fla., once he gets the required board scores.

NCAA rules prohibit the Maryland staff from talking about individual recruits before the national signing date on Feb. 1.

"The quarterback recruits are aware of all the publicity and tradition before we go into their homes, even though it's not a guarantee they will come here," Duffner said. "But we tell them about the tradition of outstanding quarterbacks, and that it is something we would like to continue."

"I didn't coach the former players, but I feel as though we continued the string with the success of John Kaleo, who was named the MVP in the Blue Gray game," Duffner said. "This publicity is something for us to get even more excited about."

Maryland has gotten verbal commitments from at least eight players including offensive linemen Pete Sorrentino (6-6, 294), Ron White (6-6, 275), Mark Motely (6-7, 300), defensive lineman Richard Abrams (6-4, 260), running backs Keno Shawell (5-11, 200), Jermaine Stewart (5-11, 185) and junior college linebacker Cleveland Everheart (6-2, 220).

Pat Ward, a 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from St. John's in Washington, also is expected to sign with Maryland depending on board scores. More probables for the Terps are nose guard John Coleman (6-1, 270) from Northern Burlington High, N.J., and place-kicker Billy Hollows from Episcopal High in Virginia.

With players such as White and Shawell, Maryland could have a top 20 recruiting class nationally.

"We can't hold up the champagne glasses yet, but I think it's going to be a class a lot of people are going to be excited about," Duffner said.

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