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Terps Football: 2018 Recruiting Update – Defense/Special Teams

Last week, we took an updated look at how the offensive half of Maryland’s 2018 recruiting class looked heading into the off-season. This week, we’ll take a look at how the defensive half shakes out. As mentioned last week, the Terrapins’ class currently ranks as the 18th-best in the country and the 4th-best in the Big Ten Conference.

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Defensive Ends

Departures: Chandler Burkett, Andrew Isaacs

Commit: 3* Tyler Baylor (MD)
Targets: 4* Eyabi Anoma (MD), 3* Jason Mercier (FL), 3* Myjai Sanders (FL)

Maryland’s entire defensive line has been an area of concern this season, and that includes the team’s pass rush, or lack thereof. Their hope is that Jesse Aniebonam, who suffered a season-ending injury in the Texas game, will be granted a medical redshirt and return for the 2018 season. But in case he elects to enter the NFL Draft, head coach DJ Durkin and his staff are attempting to add a few defensive ends to their 2018 recruiting class.

Anoma is their top target overall, but the team is competing with Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, and Texas for his commitment. The favorite currently appears to be Alabama, but a commitment from Anoma would be enormous for this defensive line.

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Defensive Tackles

Departures: Kingsley Opara, Cavon Walker

Commits: 4* Austin Fontaine (MD), 3* Jalen Alexander (VA)
Targets: 4* Christian Barmore (PA), 3* Kingston Harris (FL)

The Terrapins will be losing both of their starting defensive tackles after this season, but reinforcements are waiting in the wings in the form of multiple redshirt freshmen and their best 2018 recruit so far, Austin Fontaine. They’ve also secured a commitment from Jalen Alexander, one of the many high-end 3-star recruits in this class. The team is competing with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and LSU for Barmore’s commitment, and Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Wake Forest for Harris’.

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Linebackers

Departures: Jalen Brooks, Jermaine Carter, Jr., Shane Cockerille, Matt Gillespie

Commits: 3* Durell Nchami (MD), 3* Nihym Anderson (NJ), 3* Jordan Mosley (PA), 3* Chance Campbell (MD)
Target: 3* Dequan Jackson (FL)

With Maryland’s top three linebackers moving on after this season, the coaching staff is attempting to load up at the position in this year’s class. With the prevalence of spread offenses in college football today, the linebacker position has shifted into a hybrid linebacker/safety role. The linebackers in the Terrapins’ 2018 class reflect the desire for athleticism and speed at that position. Many of these players could potentially move to safety in the near future if the need is there.

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Cornerbacks

Departures: Josh Bekoe, Allen Corbin, Dimitri Lee, Jr., Marcus Smith

Commits: 3* Noah Boykin (DC), 3* Vincent Flythe (DC)
Targets: None

The only departing cornerbacks for Maryland after this season are former walk-ons, so they’ll be returning all of their starters from the 2017 season. Boykin and Flythe are two high-end 3-star recruits from Washington, D.C.’s H.D. Woodson High School. They should help to fill the gaps that will be left by JC Jackson, RaVon Davis, and Alex Woods when they depart after next season.

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Safeties

Departures: Denzel Conyers, Josh Woods

Commits: 3* Raymond Boone (MD)
Targets: None

As mentioned above, many of the linebackers in Maryland’s 2018 class could potentially be moved to safety if the need is there. As it stands, Raymond Boone is the only safety in the class from nearby Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD.

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Special Teamers

Departures: Nate Adams (LS), Henry Darmstadter (K), Adam Greene (K), Danny Sutton (K/P)

Commits: 3* Joseph Petrino (GA)
Targets: None

With three of the team’s kickers departing after this season, Durkin and his coaching staff went out and found Petrino, one of the best kickers available in this year’s recruiting class. In September, he went viral online for a video of himself kicking a 60-yard field goal with his dominant leg, and a 50-yarder with his non-dominant leg. It’s safe to say that the Terrapins have found their kicker of the future, and we should see plenty of him beginning next season.

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Zack Kiesel

Zack is working towards a career in law and politics. The Owings Mills native focuses most of his efforts on Maryland Football recruiting and individual coach and player pieces; but also covers Terps Basketball. He has established relationships with Big Ten beat reporters across the conference, which he utilizes in his game previews. Now a Sr. Terps Analyst for BSL, Zack can be reached at: [email protected]

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