Friendship Collegiate senior Yannick Ngakoue popped out of the locker room at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex after Saturday’s Chesapeake Bowl wearing a bright red University of Maryland hooded sweatshirt.
The All-Met linebacker dropped his equipment bag as he stopped to meet a reporter and quickly pointed down to his socks. The University of South Carolina logo sticking out from beneath a pair of snow boots served as evidence he’s not ready to pick a favorite from his list of suitors just yet.
Ngakoue made his official visit to Maryland earlier this month and plans to head to Florida State, Miami and South Carolina, in that order next month, before making a decision.
Maryland is “high on my list, but everybody’s pretty equal right now,” said Ngakoue, who had committed to the Terrapins over the summer before deciding he needed more time to make his pick. “There’s nobody above each other.”
Ngakoue, who had 17 sacks for the Knights in the fall, will wait to finish out his all-star game obligations before he turns his focus back to the recruiting process.
On Saturday, Ngakoue played alongside teammates Derwin Gray and Cavon Walker on the South team that fell, 38-13, in the senior all-star game that matches players from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District against a team drawn from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Both Gray and Walker are orally committed to Maryland.
Ngakoue and Gray were scheduled to fly out Sunday morning to begin preparing for Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The week will include his first trip to Disney World before representing Team Nitro (white jerseys) in the game where he’ll be coached by former NFL coach Steve Mariucci.
After making a pledge to Maryland that “felt like I rushed it,” Ngakoue has no problem taking his time, even with National Signing Day looming on Feb. 6.
“I’ll be looking for building a bond with the coaches,” Ngakoue said. “I’ll know the right place after I take my visits. I don’t even really know what I’ll be looking for until I get down there. I can’t really say.”