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Superlatives for Maryland's 2012 football class

February 01, 2012|By Matt Bracken | The Baltimore Sun

Most likely to overachieve: Given to the overlooked recruits that exceeded expectations during the high school season.

OFFENSE

Caleb RoweGreer (S.C.), quarterback, 6-3, 195 pounds, 4.7 40

Maryland’s competition for Rowe was Gardner-Webb, which should sufficiently demonstrate just how off the radar he was when he committed to the Terps in June. The signal-caller proceeded to have an excellent senior season, throwing for 2,722 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 141-for-220 passing, while also rushing for three touchdowns. Rowe later earned MVP honors at the Offense-Defense Bowl. “Once he gets some strength, he’s certainly got a live arm,” Shurburtt said. “He’s tall and he can run the system. He’s a smart kid.”

DEFENSE

UPDATED: Dallas Griffiths was the original pick here, but he signed with Liberty so we'll replace him with:

Shawn Petty -- Eleanor Roosevelt, linebacker, 6-2 1/2, 235 pounds, 4.6 40

Petty made his mark on the Prince George's County football scene as a quarterback, but the Terps coaches identified him over the summer as a prime linebacker target. The son of a Howard defensive coach, Petty is a physical linebacker who comes from the same high school as Terps defensive end Isaiah Ross. "He’s willing to do [whatever]," said Raiders coach Tom Green. "He’s a very good tackler, a physical football player. So I think he’ll definitely be a productive player for them.” Petty threw for 1,300 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions, while rushing for 550 yards and 10 scores. At strong-side linebacker, the future Terp recorded 50 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions

Dallas Griffiths – North Florida Christian School, linebacker, 6-2, 225 pounds, 4.48 40

The recruiting services weren’t all that high on Griffiths, with Scout and 247Sports giving the future Terp a two-star ranking. But on the high school level, few players nationally could match Griffiths’ production. He finished his senior season with 190 tackles, helping North Florida Christian to an undefeated, state-championship season. Griffiths was well known in the Sunshine State for “his explosion and his speed,” said NFC coach Robert Craft. “He runs a great 40 time. He really can change directions well. He’s explosive in the weight room. I think he’s an all-around player as far as what Maryland sees. And they like his ability to play the run and also play the pass when you need to.”

Most underrated: Given to the recruits with the best chance at making their recruiting rankings look silly four years from now.

OFFENSE

Amba Etta-TawoMcEachern (Ga.), wide receiver, 6-3, 180 pounds, 4.4 40

Billed as a wide-out with sprinter’s speed and an effortless stride, Etta-Tawo committed to the Terps in July without ever having set foot in College Park. A two-star prospect and No. 189 wide receiver in the country according to Scout.com, Etta-Tawo caught 58 passes for 907 yards and six touchdowns as a senior, despite facing constant double-teams. Etta-Tawo is probably a developmental prospect, but he’s got all the measurables you’d want in a wide receiver. “Amba definitely was the long deep threat,” said McEachern wide receivers coach Ken Hockman. “[We’d say], ‘Go get the ball when it’s in the air.’ He’s a good route runner, too. A strong kid, really amazing with the long body he has.”

DEFENSE

Alvin HillLuella (Ga.), cornerback, 6-0, 180 pounds, 4.4 40

Hill was a man of mystery when he committed to the Terps in the June. Highlight tape on the Atlanta-area prospect was scarce, and Maryland was his only FBS offer at the time. But Hill – a two-star prospect according to Scout and ESPN – had a standout senior season and began to receive inquiries from other BCS-level schools. “He’s not under the radar now,” said Luella coach Nic Vasilchek. “A lot of bigger schools came and asked about him. But he’s pretty darned committed to what he said originally – ‘Whatever school gives me the first shot is where I’m going to go.’ It’s been Maryland. He’s been fully committed, and it’s a nice relationship.”

The rest of the class

OFFENSE

Nick Brigham -- Marist School (Ga.), offensive guard, 6-4, 280 pounds, 4.98 40

In a class filled with prospective engineering and business majors, Brigham might be the dean. A 3.9 student, Brigham picked Maryland for its biology program and overall academic reputation. On the field, Brigham is a punishing run-blocker who earned a four-star ranking from ESPN.com. Marist coach Alan Chadwick said he’ll remember Brigham as a “big body that came off the ball with a vengeance.”

Malcolm Culmer -- Willingboro (N.J.), wide receiver, 6-1, 175 pounds, 4.4 40

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