Meet Maryland defensive line recruit Kingsley Opara

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January 29, 2013|By Matt Bracken | The Baltimore Sun

Almost immediately after he pledged to Maryland last July, Kingsley Opara was listed by several recruiting services as a "soft commitment." It was a label Opara -- for several months, at least -- found to be accurate.

"I knew I was going to have a big-time senior season," Opara said. "Other schools would come and be attractive to me. I kept the door open if a school I really liked came."

The two most attractive schools to Opara were N.C. State and North Carolina. The three-star prospect said he liked the Tar Heels, but not quite as much as the Wolfpack, so he decided against visiting Chapel Hill. An official trip to Raleigh was in the works, but a coaching change essentially ended those plans.

"I felt like taking the official to Maryland smoothed things over," said Opara, who plans to sign with the Terps next month. "I talked to the coaches and felt like I was really going to honor my commitment to Maryland. Maryland is the spot I can do things at [unlike] any other school. I recently shut the door and am sticking with Maryland."

Opara's final decision should provide relief to the many Maryland fans who follow the defensive lineman on Twitter (@future40million). For months, Terps fans on message boards and on Twitter speculated on whether or not Opara would end up in College Park.

"A lot of people were saying ‘What’s the deal with Kingsley? Is he committed or is he not committed?’ A lot of mixed reactions," he said. "[Some people said], 'If you haven’t committed, just go.' Other people were like, ‘We really need you.’ A mix of good and bad. I understand where they were coming from."

Maryland coach Randy Edsall and outside linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson never gave up in their pursuit of Opara. Now the Jacksonville, Fla., native hopes to reward their persistence with four big years with the Terps.

"Coach Johnson always felt I was going to come back to Maryland," Opara said. "When Edsall found out I wasn’t going to visit N.C. State, he was excited about it. I’m really happy that I’m going to be a Terp. ...  I can’t wait to go to Maryland [and] just really change the recent history and help them win a championship – ACC, Big Ten and national championships. There are a lot of things we can do up at Maryland."

Here's an introduction to Opara:

Name: Kingsley Opara

Birthdate: Oct. 13, 1994
Birthplace: Quincy, Mass.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Nickname: Big King and 40-Mill
Height: 6-4
Weight: 280
Position: Defensive end
High School: Mandarin (Fla.) High
Senior statistics: 42 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 sacks

Rankings: – Three-star prospect. – Three-star prospect, No. 91 defensive tackle. – Three-star prospect, No. 85 defensive tackle, No. 191 player in Florida, 74 rating. – Three-star prospect, No. 56 defensive tackle, No. 137 player in Florida, 85 rating.
Bench max: 395
40-yard dash: 4.9

Runner-up school: North Carolina State, North Carolina, West Virginia
Other schools considered: Georgia Tech and Wake Forest
Favorite NFL player: Tom Brady and J.J. Watt
Favorite NFL team: New England Patriots
Favorite all-time Terp: Randy White
Favorite music: Future, Yo Gotti, Chief Keef
Favorite movie: The “Dark Knight” trilogy

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