Terps Football: Recruiting in the Home Stretch
With less than two weeks until National Signing Day on February 1st, head coach DJ Durkin and his coaching staff are putting the finishing touches on Maryland’s 2017 recruiting class. The class already features 28 committed members, but there are still quite a few high profile players who the program is hoping to add. This article will focus on those remaining targets, and speak to the effect that their commitments may have to the class as a whole.
2017 Recruiting Class Rankings
Before jumping into Maryland’s remaining targets, let’s take a quick look at how the class stacks up today. As mentioned above, there are 28 current members of the class. 7 of those members are 4-star recruits, and the remainder are 3-star recruits (with the lone exception of 2-star K Jonathan Doerer). 247Sports‘ Composite Rankings ranks the Terrapins’ class as the 18th-best in the country and the 4th-best in the Big Ten Conference.
There is a clear emphasis on both the offensive and defensive lines in this class, with 4 of the 7 blue-chip recruits coming in the trenches. Maryland also looks to have picked up their quarterback of the future in 4-star Kasim Hill, and two very talented defensive backs in 4-star CB Deon Jones and 4-star S Markquese Bell.
Durkin and his staff have zeroed in on a handful of recruits who they will be pursuing heavily before February 1st. The majority of these remaining targets are blue-chip recruits who would add enormous amounts of talent to an already talented class.
Over the past few weeks, there have been some rumors that Durkin would be hiring DeMatha Catholic High School head coach Elijah Brooks to an assistant role at Maryland. While these rumors have become quieter recently, this is a move that could very well bring two blue-chip recruits to College Park.
Throughout the 2017 recruiting cycle, the Terrapins have been heavily recruiting DeMatha’s 5-star DE Chase Young and RB Anthony McFarland. Young has since committed to Ohio State, but many are hopeful that Kaindoh’s departure may open a door for him at Maryland. McFarland will make his decision on January 25th, and is expected to choose Miami (FL). If Brooks is in fact added to Durkin’s coaching staff before National Signing Day, it very well may have an impact on these two players’ decisions.
Before the Brooks rumors even began, different rumors began circulating about 5-star OT Calvin Ashley decommitting from Auburn and flipping to Maryland. Those rumors were squashed a bit by Ashley’s own comments, but the Terrapins are still pursuing him heavily. He will be visiting Auburn this weekend.
The remainder of Maryland’s targets include players from the defensive side of the ball. 4-star LB Ellis Brooks (Richmond, VA), 4-star CB Tariq Castro-Fields (Upper Marlboro, MD), 3-star S Naytron Culpepper (Opa Locka, FL), and 3-star DT Victor Dimukeje (Baltimore, MD) are all being recruited heavily by the Terrapins. None of them have made decisions yet, but Castro-Fields is set to make his on January 23rd.
The Terrapins are leaders for Brooks’ and Culpepper’s commitments, while Castro-Fields is expected to choose Penn State, and Dimukeye is expected to choose Virginia Tech. Dimukeje was being recruited by former defensive line coach Mike London before he left to become Howard’s head coach. Castro-Fields’ commitment would give the Terrapins an excellent one-two punch at cornerback with 4-star Deon Jones already on board.