Edsall unveils first recruiting class as Terps' coach

Offensive linemen, wide receivers highlight Maryland's 2011 group

February 02, 2011|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland introduced a football recruiting class Wednesday that is heavy on offensive linemen and includes a trio of promising receivers. The 20-member class was assembled even as one head coach was ousted and another hired.

Randy Edsall's first class retained the bulk of players recruited by former coach Ralph Friedgen, who departed in December. "The biggest thing we wanted to do is keep that core intact," said Edsall, the former Connecticut coach.

The class features five offensive linemen and a handful of recruits from the talent-rich immediate area. "I'm pleased we have five from the Maryland-D.C. area. I'd like to have more," Edsall said.

Among the most highly touted in the class is Nigel King from Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy. The 6-foot-4, 201-pound wide receiver was recruited by LSU before Tigers wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy resigned. Former LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton now holds the same position with Maryland.

With top receiver Torrey Smith leaving for the NFL, King will compete with, among others, returnees Kevin Dorsey, Ronnie Tyler, Tony Logan and Quintin McCree. Transfer Adrian Coxson and newly signed Tyrek Cheeseboro from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy are also in the mix. Maryland coaches praised Cheeseboro's speed.

Maryland also landed defensive end Quinton Jefferson from Woodland Hills (Pa.). Jefferson had wanted to come to Maryland initially, but hesitated after Friedgen was ousted.

"He wanted to commit and his parents said, 'Let's wait and see who the new coach was,'" wide receivers coach Lee Hull said.

Maryland had hoped to land a pass rusher and hopes Jefferson will ultimately help fill that need.

"Physically, he's nowhere near where he's going to be," said Bob Lichtenfels, Scout.com's East region recruiting analyst. "He has a chance to be a pretty special kid. Once he gets in the strength and conditioning program, if he redshirts and is able to build up his body, I think he has a very high ceiling."

Maryland also signed Tyler Cierski from Mill Creek (Ga.), ESPN.com's No. 2 fullback in the country.

The transition from Friedgen to Edsall occurred as recruits were visiting campus.

"It was very awkward because we had just found out," Hull said. "Parents kind of saw that we weren't ourselves a little bit, [but] all the coaches were very professional."

Most of Friedgen's staff left, although three holdovers -- defensive coordinator Don Brown, offensive line coach Tom Brattan and Hull -- helped in the transition.

Maryland lost its top recruiter in December when offensive coordinator James Franklin left to become Vanderbilt's coach. Maryland hopes its recruiting will improve when the reconfigured staff has a year to plan and evaluate talent.

"I think next year's recruiting will pay bigger dividends," Edsall said.

Among those recruited by Maryland who ended up at other schools was Gilman quarterback Darius Jennings, who committed to Virginia. Tight end Ryan Malleck switched his commitment from Maryland to Virginia Tech, and Jimmy Stewart, a linebacker from South Florida, withdrew his Terps commitment for Vanderbilt.

Edsall said he could not address by name those who did not come to College Park. "Not every man who is out there is going to be a fit for whom the Maryland program is looking for," the coach said.

Edsall's recruiting class did not include a quarterback. Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year Danny O'Brien returns along with four other quarterbacks.

"When I came here there were five quarterbacks on scholarship. I just didn't feel it was necessary this year," Edsall said.

Maryland also announced that running backs coach David Walker has left to take a job with the Indianapolis Colts. Edsall said he hopes to hire a replacement soon.

Baltimore Sun reporter Matt Bracken contributed to this article.


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