The phrase has become somewhat of a beacon for the Maryland football team, lit by fans and coaches, designed to entice recruits into joining the “hometown movement.” The definition varies by individual, but generally it reflects the desire of the Terrapins to keep local talent around for four or five more years. “It’s very important to us,” Coach Randy Edsall said last week on National Signing Day.
Success has varied over Edsall’s three recruiting classes. In 2012, wide receiver Stefon Diggs tipped the first domino. He ranked among the top 10 players nationally, the second-best wide receiver in the country and the No. 1 player in Maryland. Scoring him represented a massive boon for the program, as did the commitment from his teammate, running back Wes Brown.
Of course, results for this class have been mixed since – Diggs was electric his freshman season and Brown showed promise, but the former broke his leg this season and the latter was suspended for violating university policy – not to mention that offensive lineman Mike Madaras, the 11th-ranked player in Maryland that year, is no longer at the school.
But it was a start, and that’s what Edsall wanted. Washington, D.C., went similarly well during a comparatively down year; No. 3 Sean Davis and No. 4 Albert Reid both committed and have contributed for two seasons with the Terps.
“The one thing everybody has to understand is we want to recruit the best possible players here locally, in-state, Washington D.C., northern Virginia,” Edsall said. “Not everybody’s going to fit the profile that we have. We’re not going to be able to keep them all at home. But the ones we identify that we want to keep at home that fit the particular needs for that year and fit the profile we have, we’re aggressively going to pursue them and go after them.
“I really believe that if we keep the nucleus of guys from this area, keep them at Maryland, that’s going to make us an even better football team and a better program.”
The Terps have been shutout from Northern Virginia since Edsall’s arrival, but Washington, D.C,. piped in recruits for their class of 2013. Three of the top seven players from the District committed to Maryland that year, making up for the fact that just two of Maryland’s top 11 – quarterback Shane Cockerille and wide receiver Taivon Jacobs, ranked 10th and 11th, respectively – pledged.
This year brought a mixed bag. Maryland only inked two of the state’s top 27 players, per 247sports.com, but those two – offensive lineman Damian Prince and linebacker Jesse Aniebonam — were ranked first and second. In D.C., only quarterback Will Ulmer (second overall ) will enroll at Maryland after five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor chose Florida.
Still, Edsall found reason for optimism when asked about the potential for a hometown movement, no matter how vague and undefined that term may be. The class of 2015 brings even more opportunity, like Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, Damascus athlete Jalen Christian, Gonzaga guard Richie Petitbon, Eleanor Roosevelt tackle Isaiah Prince and Friendship Academy guard Quarvez Boulware, who named the Terps in his top six on Wednesday.
“I think what’s happening now,” Edsall said. “You’ve seen it in the last three years … These guys, they talk to one another, they’re around one another. Now they start recruiting those guys that they either played against, or from their high school, to keep them here. Again, there’s going to be some guys who want to get away. We can’t do anything about that. We’ll try to recruit them, but some guys will just want to get away. But what’s happening is now guys are understanding they can accomplish everything they want to accomplish here.”