Off year does minimal damage to Maryland as 24 recruits sign

Alaeze, Gaither in group

QB Turner coming east

College Football

February 03, 2005|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Last year's losing season certainly wasn't the best thing for Maryland football's recruiting efforts, but, as it turns out, it wasn't the worst, either.

True, the Terps may have missed out on a few recruits after suffering their first losing season in four years, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen acknowledged yesterday.

But years of progress weren't going to be erased by one bad season, the coach added. Not when Maryland won 31 games in Friedgen's first three seasons.

"We had a few doors close on us because we went 5-6, but not that many," Friedgen said. "It helps that we had an established track record. ... We just can't have many more 5-6 seasons."

And with 24 players signing letters of intent yesterday to play for the Terps - many of them highly rated prospects from as far away as California and Florida - Maryland feels it has again signed one of the best classes in school history.

Though the Terps went further geographically than they have recently to land recruits, namely getting quarterback Chris Turner from Chaminade High School in West Hills, Calif., the two obvious gems of the 2005 class are local.

As expected, defensive end Melvin Alaeze (Randallstown) signed with the Terps, as did Jared Gaither (Hargrave Military Academy), a 6-foot-9, 330-pound offensive tackle originally from Eleanor Roosevelt.

"We got the two best players in the state of Maryland, no doubt, in my mind," said recruiting coordinator James Franklin.

Both players still need to qualify academically. Gaither actually signed with the Terps a year ago, but attended prep school to improve his academic standing.

Maryland also did well in filling one of its biggest needs, signing five wide receivers, including Darrius Heyward-Bey (McDonogh), who is also one of the country's top high school sprinters.

"Wide receiver was a huge need for this team, and [Friedgen] definitely addressed that," said Mike Farrell, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "Maryland's class is actually very good for going 5-6 and being out of a bowl game."

Maryland did miss out on several quarterbacks it wanted, including Josh Portis (Florida), Ike Whitaker (Virginia Tech) and Greg Boone (Virginia Tech), but landed an interesting prospect in Turner, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound pro-style quarterback who was also recruited hard by Louisville, Oregon and Syracuse.

Turner's father, John, was the original drummer in the 1980s metal band Ratt.

"Chris is a very smart, very accurate quarterback, and he's got a strong arm," Friedgen said. "We're lucky to have him in our program. Some schools were pushing real hard for him late."

Though he was clearly happy to land Turner, Friedgen admitted to being a little puzzled by Maryland's inability the past four years to sign a quarterback considered one of the nation's best.

"I find it a little puzzling why more kids aren't interested in us, but I guess maybe that's kind of my M.O.," Friedgen said. "Joe Hamilton [at Georgia Tech] was supposed to be too short. People thought Shaun Jones [also at Tech] should be a defensive back. Even Shaun Hill and Scott McBrien, people had their doubts. I guess maybe I just work better with those kind of kids."

NOTES: Friedgen said he would have liked to have signed one more lineman, preferably for the offense, but couldn't. One of the Terps' main targets, Kade Weston, signed with Georgia. ... Franklin said Maryland isn't recruiting anyone else at the moment. ... Friedgen said Anthony Wiseman, a cornerback the Terps signed from DeMatha, should be ready for practice in the fall after missing most of his senior year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. ... Maryland has hired Dan Hickson as an assistant recruiting coordinator.

2005 recruits

Maryland

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/School

Melvin Alaeze DE 6-2 280 Baltimore/Randallstown

Jeff Allen TB/S 6-1 190 Woodbridge, Va./DeMatha

Nolan Carroll WR 6-1 185 Green Cove Springs, Fla./Clay

Jeff Clement LB 6-2 235 Westville, N.J./Deptford

Chris Clinton LB 6-3 240 Lakeland, Fla./Evangel Christian

Phil Costa C 6-3 280 Moorestown, N.J./Holy Cross

Jared Gaither OT 6-9 330 White Plains/Hargrave Mil.

Dwight Galt IV DE 6-4 245 Silver Spring/Good Counsel

Tommy Galt DE 6-5 235 Silver Spring/Good Counsel

Morgan Green TB 6-0 210 White Plains/Lackey

Jared Harrell DE 6-6 230 Milton, Mass./Tabor Academy

Barrod Heggs DE 6-3 245 Garden City, Ga./Groves

Darrius Heyward-Bey WR 6-3 195 Silver Spring/McDonogh

Travis Ivey DT 6-4 278 Riverdale/Riverdale Baptist

Zach Marshall OT 6-7 285 Mason, Ohio/William Mason

Jamari McCollough CB/S 6-0 175 Baltimore/Randallstown

Jeremy Navarre* FB/DE 6-4 245 Joppatowne/Joppatowne

Danny Oquendo WR 6-3 175 Hackensack, N.J./Hackensack

Marvin Peoples LB 6-2 230 Apopka, Fla./Apopka

Dave Philistin LB 6-2 218 Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central

Terrell Skinner WR/CB 6-3 190 St. Petersburg, Fla.//Boca Ciega

Chris Turner QB 6-4 205 West Hills, Calif.//Chaminade

Isaiah Williams WR 6-3 200 Montclair, N.J./Bergen Catholic

Anthony Wiseman CB 5-10 185 Silver Hill/DeMatha

Navy

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