Maryland has made an offer to former University of Miami head coach Randy Shannon to be its defensive coordinator, a source with knowledge of the talks told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday.
Shannon would become head coach Randy Edsall's highest-profile assistant and could help the program's recruiting while extending its reach in talent-rich Florida. He had success as the Hurricanes' defensive coordinator for six seasons before becoming head coach before the 2007 season. Shannon, who was dismissed after the 2010 regular season, is a prominent enough name to generate excitement in a Maryland fan base whose support in recent seasons has been lukewarm.
Shannon, 44, has indicated he wants the job, the source said. There was no signed agreement as of late Thursday afternoon, and Shannon had returned to Miami to take care of unspecified business while Maryland awaited his response.
Shannon's hiring would complete the staff of Edsall, who was hired last month. Shannon would replace Don Brown, who had been a holdover from former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen's tenure. Brown left unexpectedly last week for the same position at Connecticut, saying he wanted to be closer to his family in New England.
Shannon would be expected to aid in the Terrapins' efforts to lure local talent — from Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia — to College Park. There were five recruits from the region in the 20-member class that Maryland announced last week on National Signing Day. Edsall said he hoped to have more in the next class.
"When you're Maryland, first and foremost you want to keep your in-state talent at home," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports.
At the same time, Shannon — who is from Miami and played at the school — "could maybe work some of his connections in south Florida to mine that very lucrative talent base," Shurburtt said. "You're going to be able to go down there and get two or three guys — maybe even four or five guys — and with a reputation like Randy Shannon has, that shouldn't be too problematic. What he brings to the high schools is credibility."
Said recruiting expert Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports: "He's an outstanding south Florida recruiter. All the high school coaches really liked him down there."
A Maryland official said it was premature to comment. Shannon did not immediately return calls.
Brown had previously been an important recruiter for Maryland in Florida, and his departure — announced two days after signing day — had stunned those he recruited.
Shannon was the Hurricanes' coach from 2007 until his dismissal after Miami went 7-5. His record as head coach was 28-22. His team's most recent Academic Progress Rate — an indication of whether players are on track to graduate — was well above the average of other Division I football programs. Miami had signed Shannon to a new four-year contract on May 12, 2010.
In their best seasons, Shannon's Miami defenses were known for producing turnovers. As defensive coordinator, his units were nationally-ranked in the top 10 in turnover margin twice and led the nation in 2001.