To linebacking prospects, Maryland looks like a good place to start

January 26, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

Linebackers read a situation and react accordingly.

Jomo Huggins considered his knowledge of the University of Maryland defense and jumped on the Terps' offer of a scholarship.

When oral commitments start to become letters of intent next Wednesday, Maryland could sign the NCAA limit of 25 players. It already has 21 commitments, and six of the 16 high schoolers on the list, Huggins included, are linebackers who are enticed by the possibility of playing next season.

"I felt I had the greatest chance to play right away at Maryland," Huggins said earlier this week between classes at Holy Trinity High in Hicksville, N.Y. "That's exactly the reason I'm coming down."

The Maryland defense improved from 1993 to last season, but it still rated 93rd among the 107 teams in Division I-A. Coach Mark Duffner and his staff are encouraged by the depth on the line and in the secondary, but the talent at linebacker needs to improve if the Terps are going to put four straight losing seasons behind them.

Maryland most likely will try Huggins at inside linebacker, where last season senior Tim Brown split time with Erick Wood, who has completed his eligibility. Junior Ratcliff Thomas, one of Maryland's top players, will hold down the other inside linebacker position for the third straight year, and Mike Settles is an under-sized holdover on the outside.

Huggins, 6 feet 2 and 228 pounds, is rated the third-best high school prospect in New York State by one recruiting service. He runs 40 yards in 4.7 seconds, bench-presses 330 pounds, and is a catch simply because he turned down some teams Maryland is trying to pass in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

He "kind of committed" to Syracuse in mid-December, but after a re-evaluation of his options, switched his allegiance to Maryland. Huggins also visited North Carolina State, and canceled a visit to North Carolina.

Besides linebacker, quarterback is a primary concern for Duffner, who was recruiting in Texas yesterday. With the transfer LTC of backup Kevin Foley to Boston University, the Terps are left with only two scholarship quarterbacks: senior Scott Milanovich and sophomore Brian Cummings, who never has attempted a pass in college.

Ken Mastrole of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., committed to Maryland last month. The Terps were involved with Marc Bulger, one of the top quarterback prospects in western Pennsylvania, but he recently committed to West Virginia.

Despite wavering interest from Ryan Daye, Maryland still hopes to get at least one defensive lineman from Navarro Junior College in Texas. Daye, 6-3 and 305, has backed out of his commitment to the Terps, but teammate Steve Molonson, a 6-1, 275-pound nose tackle, is seriously considering an offer from Maryland.

The Terps have four scholarships left to give, and several could ++ go to defensive linemen who are high school seniors in Illinois, Louisiana and Ohio.

Maryland's commitments include three transfers who already are enrolled and ready for spring practice. Andre Hentz played defensive back for Division I-AA Furman as a freshman and has three years of eligibility left. Ernest Greer, a defensive back from Hudson Valley, N.Y., and Jason Word, a wide receiver from Butler County, Kan., are junior college transfers.

There's one other newcomer in the Maryland football complex. Dennis Goldman, who spent four years as an assistant at Syracuse, has filled the vacancy created by the departure of Vince White to Southern Methodist.

Like White, Goldman will tutor the Terps' wide receivers. The addition of Goldman brings to seven the number of Maryland assistants who worked with Duffner at Holy Cross.

PLAYERS ORALLY COMMITTED TO MARYLAND

Name .............. Pos. .. Ht. .. Wt. .. Hometown or School

Eric Barton ....... LB .... 6-3 .. 230 .. Alexandria, Va.

Jimmy Boyle ....... OL .... 6-5 .. 300 .. Delmar, N.Y.

Derrick Bunting ... DL .... 6-4 .. 285 .. Coraopolis, Pa.

Troy Davidson ..... WR/DB.. 6-0 .. 180 .. Pittsburgh

Darnell Eatmon .... RB .... 6-0 .. 185 .. Laurel

Ernest Greer* ..... DB .... 6-0 .. 195 .. Hudson Valley (N.Y.) CC

Andre Hentz* ...... DB .... 5-9 .. 185 .. Transfer from Furman

Josh Huff ......... DE .... 6-5 .. 250 .. Valley Forge (Pa.) Military (JC)

Jomo Huggins ...... LB .... 6-2 .. 228 .. Hicksville, N.Y.

Anthony Jenkins ... DE .... 6-2 .. 245 .. Butler County (Kan.) CC

Derrick Johnson ... LB .... 6-3 .. 210 .. Penn Hills, Pa.

Erwin Lyght ....... DB .... 6-0 .. 185 .. Westfield, N.J.

Ken Mastrole ...... QB .... 6-3 .. 210 .. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Brad Messina ...... OL .... 6-6 .. 260 .. Bogota, N.J.

Julian Richardson.. LB .... 6-4 .. 205 .. Perth Amboy, N.J.

Rashard Smith ..... LB .... 6-2 .. 225 .. DeMatha

Peter Timmins ..... LB .... 6-4 .. 220 .. Staten Island, N.Y.

Eric Timothy ...... OL .... 6-4 .. 308 .. Hamden, Conn.

Lynde Washington .. DB .... 5-9 .. 170 .. DeMatha

Harold Westley .... RB/WR.. 5-8 .. 170 .. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Jason Word* ....... WR .... 6-0 .. 175 .. Butler County (Kan.) CC

*-Already enrolled at Maryland

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