Baltimore Sports and Life: Adam, what are your initial impressions of the Terps’ recruiting class so far?
Adam Friedman: Well, it’s been pretty surprising given the fact that they were on their 5th-string quarterback this past season. Randy Edsall and his staff have put together a pretty good recruiting class. WR Deon Long is impressive, he should start immediately alongside Stefon Diggs. That will be a very good pair to watch this season. QB Shane Cockerille should fit well into Randy Edsall’s offense if he wants to run an option-based attack similar to what he ran with Connecticut. The class took a hit with McDonough High School OT Na’Ty Rodgers’ announcement today that he’s committing to South Carolina. But 4-star TE Andrew Isaacs should help the Terps out a lot. As should 4-star CB Will Likely III. Likely is a bit short and undersized, but once he learns how to use his frame to his advantage at the next level, he should be able to excel.
BSL: With the depth at defensive back, Will Likely shouldn’t be forced into a starting job anytime soon. But the Terps are losing 3 tight ends to graduation this year. Will Andrew Isaacs start this upcoming season for the Terps?
AF: Well, I don’t know how that’ll all pan out. He may end up being 1st on the depth chart, but I wouldn’t expect him to be on the field as much his first year as a normal starting tight end might be. But his playing time will increase as be becomes more comfortable with his role in the offense.
BSL: How big of a force are the Terps in the DMV recruiting area, especially with the addition of Mike Locksley to the coaching staff last year?
AF: A lot of people seem to think that Mike Locksley is the primary reason the Terps are doing better in recruiting. And even though all of the recruits I’ve talked to love Locksley, it’s more about the Stefon Diggs effect. More and more guys are following his lead and staying close to home and playing for the hometown team. So even though Locksley is a great recruiter, hometown pride is playing an even bigger role in the Terps’ recruiting success in the DMV area.
BSL: How do you expect Maryland’s recruiting style to change now that they’ll be entering the Big Ten in 2014? Can we expect to see them look to more Mid-western recruits?
AF: I think you’ll see the Terps recruit a lot more offensive and defensive linemen. Everyone knows that Big Ten games are won and lost in the trenches. I’d say that Randy Edsall and his staff will look to stay home to recruit the athletes, but might venture more into the midwest for a few linemen. But for the most part, I’d expect the recruiting focus to be a bit more shifted towards linemen.
BSL: How big is WR Deon Long’s commitment going to be for the Terps over the next two seasons?
AF: The thing with Deon Long is that he’s been successful wherever he’s gone. It’s always been a bit more about finding the right place for him. If he can have a good overall college experience at Maryland, he should be totally fine. Deon’s play on the field has never been the issue, it’s always been a lack of comfort off the field.
BSL: Are there any under the radar recruits that Terps fans should be on the lookout for?
AF: Two guys that really stand out to me are Jermaine Carter and Cavon Walker. They were high school teammates at Friendship Collegiate Academy, and are both 3-star recruits. They are both really aggressive players, and play with a lot of hunger. What really impresses me about Carter is his instincts. He seems to have a really good feel for what’s going on on the field.
BSL: What kind of a chance do the Terps have of re-landing 4-star LB Yannick Ngakoue?
AF: At this point, it’s basically a two horse race for Ngakoue with South Carolina and Maryland. But Maryland has a huge chance at landing him, even after he de-committed early this fall. He is very close with OT Derwin Gray, who has already committed to the Terps.
BSL: When can Terps fans expect to see Cockerille starting for the Terps?
AF: Obviously the Terps are very deep at quarterback, so it’ll be interesting to see what Randy Edsall does with Cockerille in the immediate future. I watched two of his games in high school, and he was simply running over defenders (especially the game against Calvert Hall). He won’t be able to do that very much in the Big Ten, but having a physical runner like that who isn’t afraid to put his head down and power through tackles is going to play into Maryland’s hands.
I’d like to thank Adam for providing his analysis for us again. As you can see, the future is very bright for the Terps.