While Ole Miss was stealing the show on National Signing Day, the Terps put together their second Top-35 recruiting class in a row. Filled to the brim with talent on both sides of the ball, Randy Edsall and his staff should be very proud of the job they did on the recruiting trail this year. After a season where we saw a linebacker playing quarterback, this gives Terps fans some hope for the future.
The Terps will be losing some key talent on both sides of the ball this year, but the defense will be taking a significant hit. 5 of the Terps’ starting front 7 will be graduating (A.J. Francis, Joe Vellano, Demetrius Hartsfield, Darin Drakeford, and Kenneth Tate). Randy Edsall and his staff knew this, and recruited linebackers like there was no tomorrow. This class is highlighted by 4-star LB Yannick Ngakoue, who chose to stay home at Maryland rather than go to Florida State or South Carolina. He projects to start immediately.
Let’s take a look at some of the other highlights of the class of 2013:
- 5-star WR Deon Long – From West Virginia to Hargrave Military Academy to New Mexico to Iowa Western Community College, Long found a 5th home at Maryland as the first 5-star junior college recruit since Cam Newton. He projects to start immediately alongside Stefon Diggs, making them one of (if not the best) wide receiver tandems in the ACC, and in the nation.
- 4-star OT Derwin Gray – A local kid from Washington, DC, Derwin Gray decided to stay home instead of taking offers from high-profile SEC schools. He projects to start immediately at left tackle, pushing Mike Madaras to the left side. He will be a fixture on the Terps’ offensive line for years to come.
- 4-star CB Will Likely III – Don’t let his height fool you (Likely is 5’7″), he’s a playmaker. A cornerback with great ball skills, Likely will see the field as a nickel-back in 2013, and projects to take over a starting position alongside Jeremiah Johnson in 2014 when the Terps lose corners Dexter McDougle and Isaac Goins to graduation.
- 4-star QB Shane Cockerille – Another local kid from Gilman High School, Cockerille is a powerful left-handed dual-threat quarterback that will remind many fans of Tim Tebow. While his passing is a work in progress, he projects to redshirt in 2013 and start for the Terps in 2014 as they enter the Big Ten Conference. Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley love running the read option, and Cockerille is the perfect quarterback for that offense.
- 4-star TE Andrew Isaacs – Randy Edsall used his Connecticut roots to land Isaacs, who hails from Manchester, CT. A balanced tight end who can block and catch, Isaacs should see starting time immediately. Adam Friedman of Rivals projects that he will see more and more starting time as he gains familiarity with the offense.
- 4-star LB Yannick Ngakoue – After de-committing from Maryland in September, Ngakoue made it official that he would be re-committing on National Signing Day. After receiving offers from Florida State and South Carolina, the Washington, DC native chose to stay home and play for the Terps. He projects to take over a starting spot immediately and should be a big part of the Terps’ defense in the years to come.
- 3-star LBs Jermaine Carter and Cavon Walker – Teammates with Derwin Gray at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, DC, Carter and Walker are the best of the 3-star LBs in the Terps’ class. Both holding great instincts and raw talent, they project to see the field early and often as key members of the Terrapin defense. While they may not start immediately, they should play roles in their freshman year and compete for starting jobs in 2014.
Overall, most recruiting analysts describe the Terps’ Class of 2013 in one word: “Solid”. For a team that has gone 6-18 over the past 2 seasons, getting a recruiting class of this caliber is very impressive. It’s a testament to the recruiting talent of Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley. Their ability to keep the talent at home is amazing, and fans should be very excited for this Terps team next season. As long as there isn’t a Shawn Petty situation in 2013, the Terps’ lame duck season in the ACC should be an impressive one.