News and notes from Randy Edsall's Signing Day presser

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

Maryland coach Randy Edsall unveiled his second Terps recruiting class today at the Gossett Team House in College Park. The 24-man group is ranked 42nd in the country by, 44th by, and 49th by Here are news and notes from Edsall's news conference:

* Edsall started his news conference lauding his staff's efforts locally, with 11 of the Terps' signees coming from Maryland or Washington. Pennsylvania (five players) and Virginia (one) were also areas of emphasis. Twenty-one out of the 24 signees earned all-state honors, while 20 were team captains. Edsall was pleased to make in-roads at local powers Good Counsel (Wes Brown, Mike Madaras, Zach Dancel), Gilman (Kenneth Goins) and Friendship Collegiate (Albert Reid). Overall, Edsall said it's an athletic class with good balance (12 on offense, 12 on defense).

* Brown's commitment to the Terps on national TV was excellent publicity for the program, Edsall said. You have to "pay big money for airtime" like that, he said, noting that Brown and Madaras were the first two Under Armour All-Americans in Maryland history.

* Adding offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to the Maryland staff in December was huge, but Edsall emphasized that recruiting is "a team effort ... and not just one guy." The former New Mexico coach "aided us in the process" of recruiting Brown.

* Terps recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach John Dunn "did a tremendous job," Edsall said. Dunn stayed organized with player visits, coordinated Edsall's schedule, and found time to go on the road and do recruiting of his own. Dunn was the point man with tight end P.J. Gallo.

* Despite all the negativity surrounding the Terps' 2-10 season, Edsall said these recruits weren't dismayed. "They all believe in what we're doing," he said. Edsall said he wished "everyone was as optimistic and positive" as the players in this recruiting class.

* Edsall has already given Brown, Dancel, Madaras, Goins and Reid their first assignments: recruit their high schools. Maryland hopes that landing these five guys creates a pipeline effect from Good Counsel, Gilman and Friendship Collegiate to College Park.

* Maryland's running back class -- ranked 2nd in the nation by -- was a big point of pride for Edsall. Brown -- a power back -- and Reid -- who's "shifty outside" and "makes people miss" -- complement each other well and are "great competitors."

* During the season Edsall decided that the Terps needed a mid-year cornerback, and the staff began scouring the junior college ranks for a player who fit that bill. Isaac Goins, who wide receivers coach Lee Hull discovered through a connection to his JUCO defensive coordinator, had impressive tape and a strong academic background. Goins was a full qualifier out of high school, and he had the necessary JUCO credits to transfer into Maryland. Edsall said he's not opposed to recruiting more JUCO players, but academics are often a sticking point.

* Maryland looked at about seven quarterbacks during this recruiting cycle, and wanted to have all seven come to camp and compete against each other. Scheduling prevented that from happening, but Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills were able to attend, and both impressed. Hills didn't throw the ball much in Pittsburgh Central Catholic's triple-option offense, but Edsall was satisfied by his arm in camp. Neither Hills nor Rowe was highly rated by recruiting services, but both had standout performances in postseason all-star games -- Hills at the Chesapeake Bowl and Rowe at the Offense-Defense Bowl.

* One reporter asked Edsall about potential sleepers, mentioning Shawn Petty and Stefan Houston as possibilities for this distinction. Edsall said Petty was overlooked by some schools because he was primarily known as a quarterback. But the Eleanor Roosevelt product is an athletic linebacker with natural leadership abilities. Houston and Avery Thompson were two other under-the-radar linebackers Edsall mentioned. Thompson is a "long guy" who's still growing into his body. Quinton Jefferson, meanwhile, is in great shape after signing in 2010 but staying home until January because of an undisclosed medical issue. I'll have more on Jefferson's year away from football later. Finally, former Suitland wide receiver Levern Jacobs impressed Edsall during his meetings with admissions and academic support. Edsall said the Milford Academy product "grew so much" in terms of maturity during prep school.

* The 24-man class is a tight-knit group, Edsall said. Madaras and fellow offensive lineman Nick Brigham have already agreed to never wear long sleeves on the field, no matter how cold it gets.

* Kenneth Goins is slated for fullback, but he is also expected to make his mark on special teams. Edsall was pleased with the number of linebackers, fullbacks, tight ends and wide receivers -- position players he hopes will improve Maryland's special teams play.

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