I have received a lot of questions via e-mail about Maryland Coach Randy Edsall’s stipulation that the three Terrapins players who decided to leave the program — QB Danny O’Brien, OL Max Garcia and LB Mario Rowson — not be cleared to transfer to Vanderbilt.
Make no mistake, it is common for a coach to stipulate that players can’t transfer to schools that are on the schedule in the near future. That’s why those aforementioned players were not allowed to transfer to ACC schools as well as Temple and West Virginia, which are upcoming nonconference opponents for Maryland.
But one longtime college administrator told me it is uncommon for a coach to prohibit players from transferring to a school that his school will not play, which is the case with Vanderbilt and Maryland. With Edsall including that specific stipulation, the insinuation is that something untoward may have occurred, and it raises the question of whether premature contact may have occurred between Vanderbilt and some of the Maryland players.
However, the stipulation would not necessarily prevent O’Brien from going to Vanderbilt, but would only prohibit O’Brien from accepting a football scholarship from the Commodores.
In the case of O’Brien, he has had a longstanding, close relationship with Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin, who is the former Maryland head coach-in-waiting. Franklin’s employment at Maryland — and the prospect that he would one day be the head coach in College Park — was one of the main reasons why O’Brien chose Maryland out of high school.
It is possible that O’Brien could appeal that stipulation to the NCAA, according to someone close to the player. I do not know if that appeal will be filed. In the 24 hours since O’Brien’s transfer was made official, the quarterback has already received significant interest from many schools. Mississippi, Arizona, South Florida and East Carolina are only some of the schools that have already shown serious interest.
And the process is still in its early stages.
There is plenty of time to examine the beginning of the C.J. Brown era at Maryland, and we will do so in the coming weeks. Maryland assistant coaches will meet with reporters each Wednesday for the next three weeks. And there will be a news conference with Edsall to preview spring practice on March 6.
A little more than midway through this past season, I had first broached the topic of O’Brien’s possible departure and explored all of the options he would have. And O’Brien had plenty of options because he, all along, expected to graduate in the spring.
Is anyone really surprised by how this has played out?
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