National Signing Day leftovers: On Under Armour and the Big Ten


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Recruits paying visits to the Maryland football team at Gossett Team House often receive the same tour and, at one certain stop, react in the same way. When they come to the Under Armour displays, manikins decked in helmets, cleats and every flag-bearing design the Terrapins wear, the prospects often turn to Coach Randy Edsall and ask, “Coach, what new uniforms are you going to have next year?”

Edsall knows. Assuredly something – ahem – big will happen when Maryland moves from the ACC to the Big Ten, but sometimes he “can’t really let the secret out of the bag.” Still, the connection between the Terps and their uniform supplier is no mystery.

Under Armour is everywhere inside Gossett. Walk through the front door and you’re greeted by towering figures sporting an array of football uniforms. Enter through the back and a video of CEO Kevin Plank, explaining the next generation of innovations and the ones that have preceded it, plays in loop. Work your way into Edsall’s office, overlooking Byrd Stadium, and there on the shelves sit the helmets, with names like “White Ops” or the hand-painted “Maryland Pride 2.0”

No wonder kids love the stuff.

“It’s a great partnership that we have with Under Armour,” Edsall said last week on National Signing Day. “Our association with them, in terms of what they do for us does aid us in recruiting.”

Of course having Plank, a former Maryland football player who founded Under Armour because he sweated so much on the field, helps as well.

>> Maybe recruits don’t ask nearly as much as reporters, but Edsall and his assistants also cover the topic of the Big Ten during their pitches to players.

“We told them, we thought it was going to be a very positive move for us to go to the Big Ten,” Edsall said. “Those guys were excited about it. When you’re able to have the four-, five-year schedules, we’ve got our schedules for the next five years to say, ‘Hey, here’s who we’re playing.’ It was a very positive experience for those kids and they wanted to be a part of it. We used it, and we used it quite often.”

There is something to this, the idea of starting anew, of ushering in a new era for the program as the first Big Ten recruiting class at Maryland. Having schedules planned far in advance also helps too. Parents, in particular, will know exactly when and where their sons are playing for their entire careers at Maryland, through 2019.

>> Some leftover thoughts from recruiting coordinator John Dunn on several Terps commitments:

Wide Receiver Juwann Winfree

“Juwann’s very dynamic. We were going to take the one receiver and that’s who we identified. I think we’ve gotten very good players at the position before and I think that’s a position where you identify electric playmakers. I think that’s what he is. Kick return, punt return, receiver, I think he’s a big kid who can make plays with the ball in his hand. I think he’s a big-time player who can have a special career.”

Defensive end Tyler Burke

“He’s a great kid, comes from a great family. This is a place where he could see himself fitting in, kind of a program it is, it’s a blue-collar program. He’s a guy we identified early as a guy who could be a good inside linebacker for us. He’s a big kid, starts on the basketball team. He related with this program, he related with Coach Edsall very well. He’s a blue-collar, get-your-hands-dirty kind of guy.”

Defensive tackle David Shaw

“I think David is a big, athletic kid. … You watch his tape, and it’s a man amongst boys. He mauls guys. He’s a big, athletic kid who can get in here, get in the weight room, be able to add some strength and get some technique work. He’s a kid from Coach Edsall’s home town, same type of deal … I think he’s got a chance to be a big body inside to help us in the Big Ten.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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