Jajuan Dulaney, OT from Georgia, talks about his Terps commitment

June 09, 2012|By Matt Bracken | The Baltimore Sun

Coaching Division I-bound football players is nothing new for Kyle Hockman. Last year alone the coach at McEachern High in Powder Springs, Ga., sent two players to South Carolina, one to South Florida and one to Maryland.

But when it came to a “tall, skinny kid” named Jajuan Dulaney, Hockman wasn’t prepared to make any grand proclamations about the offensive lineman’s college future. 

“As a young kid, you didn’t know from the get-go that he was going to be a Division I player,” said Hockman, who played at Bowling Green and had coaching stints at West Virginia and East Carolina. “He just really worked himself into a kid that plays with a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove.”

Dulaney, now a 6-foot-4, 263-pound offensive tackle, proved to the coaching staffs at Maryland, East Carolina and Cincinnati that he was worthy of a scholarship offer. On Friday morning, Dulaney decided to join former McEachern wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo by committing to the Terps.

“It feels great,” Dulaney said. “I had talked with my parents [Thursday] night. That pretty much put everything [into perspective]. With the top three schools, Maryland came out on top of the other two.”

When Dulaney first joined Hockman’s program, the future Terp also played basketball. Last year after spring practice, Dulaney decided to give up hoops and concentrate completely on football. That decision accelerated Dulaney’s development on the offensive line.

“He started getting bigger and looked like an offensive lineman as opposed to a basketball player playing offensive line,” Hockman said. “He just had a great year last year. Again, he’s real physical, runs well, loves to go downfield and knock people down. [He’s a] real good pass protector [with a] 7-foot wingspan. He’s just growing into his body. He just played with something to prove, and I really think his best football is in front of him.”

Dulaney said Etta-Tawo never put any pressure on him to consider Maryland. The wide receiver told the offensive lineman – who hasn’t yet visited College Park – about Maryland's campus. Dulaney was satisfied with what he learned, and also intrigued by the educational offerings at UM and potential for early playing time. Dulaney also bonded with his recruiter, Terps offensive line coach Tom Brattan.

“He’s very welcoming, friendly and kind,” Dulaney said. “He’s just a good coach to talk to, as well as coach [Randy] Edsall. They’re both two great coaches.  … When I get there, they were looking for me to put on some more weight so I can compete for a starting position and potentially become a four-year starter.”

Hockman said McEachern’s past three offensive tackles have landed full scholarships. Dulaney is now the fourth, and according to his coach, he had less hype than his counterparts yet is “probably the toughest of the four.” Dulaney plans to bring his no-nonsense work ethic to College Park.

“I’d just like [Terps fans] to know that I’m a very hard-working individual,” Dulaney said. “My work ethic is one of the main things that people like about me. That’s what I’ll bring to the University of Maryland.”

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