Terps win one, lose one in bid for recruits McCall's decision a plus, but Chapman gets away

January 28, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

With the letter-of-intent signing period a week away, the Maryland football team's recruiting efforts turned in some mixed results this past week.

First, the Terrapins made a major breakthrough by receiving their first oral commitment from a quarterback, Calvin McCall, widely considered one of the top athletes in Florida.

But the Terps then took a step back when Jay Chapman, a wide receiver out of Anacostia High in Washington, backed out of his oral commitment to the Terps. One of the fastest players in the D.C. area, Chapman has said he is leaning toward Syracuse.

"[Maryland is] a little too close to home," Chapman told the Syracuse Herald-Journal. "I thought I rushed into things."

Nevertheless, Maryland upgraded its recruiting class with McCall, who is 6 feet 3, 190 pounds.

As a senior, he led Dr. Phillips High School of Orlando to its first unbeaten regular season before losing in the first round of the state playoffs. He threw 21 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, running an I-formation offense that averaged 30.5 points per game.

"He's a leader," Dr. Phillips coach Chip Gierke said. "He's a good kid. His memory is incredible. As soon as you tell him one thing, he has it. We had a good feeling about him when practice began, but he still had to go out and do it and he did. Big time."

It's an incredible achievement for McCall to be recognized as one of the top quarterbacks in Florida, especially since he was just a backup defensive back two years ago.

Gierke got the idea of moving McCall to quarterback after seeing him chase down an errant ball in practice. Instead of running the ball back, McCall threw it nearly 50 yards in the air.

"The fact he never did it before makes it even more special," Gierke said. "What he has done in a year is incredible. When he gets someone at the next level to polish him up, he will really be something."

McCall, who was also recruited by several Division I basketball programs, chose Maryland over Florida and Syracuse.

The Terps increased their number of commitments to 20 with the signings of offensive lineman Sam Marvis of Hempsfield, Pa., and defensive linemen Nate Rust of Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa., Todd Bradley of Yorktown, Va., and Jerome McDougle of Pompano Beach, Fla.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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