Terps fans in state of denial

Kevin's Rant


I've never been a big fan of recruiting stories, mostly because high school kids are probably the flakiest people on Earth. I know this because I used to be one. But I make it a point to read recruiting stories involving Maryland, in part because I used to cover the football team and in part because it fascinates me how paranoid Terps fans are sometimes.

These stories almost always involve Penn State, which, for whatever reason, is one of the biggest lightning rods for any Terrapins football fan. My colleague Stefen Lovelace met this buzz saw head-on last week when he had the gall to report that the Nittany Lions were doing their best to cherry-pick some of the best Maryland prep stars away from the Terrapins and in some instances were accomplishing that.

Because you can find anything on the Internet, and because Lovelace went to Penn State, this immediately set off all kinds of conspiracy alarm bells, with Maryland fans blasting him in the comment section of the article or flooding his inbox with hate mail.

All that is fine, except for the fact that in your rage, Terps fans, you miss the larger point: Maryland hasn't done the best job keeping top high school football players from bolting to out-of-state schools. Whether a writer went to Penn State is irrelevant on that point. Derrick Williams and Antonio Logan-El might have turned out to be marginal players, but the Terps wanted them badly and lost. They wanted Derrick Harvey and lost him to Florida.

Yes, players at Penn State do seem to commit an inordinate number of crimes by comparison, and Maryland has done a decent job of recruiting in New Jersey, but that doesn't change the fact that the Terps keep losing highly ranked in-state players they want. To be successful, you have to lock up the top talent in your own state. Maybe the return of James Franklin changes that. Keeping DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate is a good start. But for now, Penn State is getting too many Maryland kids. Those are the cold hard facts.

It's much easier, though, to blame the messenger or a conspiracy than to blame the program you support.

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