Recruiting is like getting a reservation for the best table in the hottest restaurant: It’s all about relationships. Although Edsall stumbled early dealing with the media, he’s in his comfort zone around high school coaches. Friendship Collegiate Academy Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim trusts Edsall; they think alike about what’s most important to develop players.
“He preaches player accountability,” Rahim said. “And he treats the high-profile kids the same as he treats the walk-ons. If you’re trying to build a program the right way, there’s nothing more important than that.”
The Avalon School’s Jacquille Veii made his decision to attend the Unviersity of Maryland on National Signing Day. Teammates Tommy Vince and Rachid Ibrahim signed letters of intent to Catholic University and University of Pittsburgh, respectively.
The Friendship Collegiate star committed to Maryland on National Signing Day.
Of course, Edsall isn’t a solo artist. Assistant coaches spend countless hours texting, calling and visiting recruits. They do the early relationship building that, hopefully, will pay off on signing day.
That’s why Edsall brought back Mike Locksley as offensive coordinator. Edsall’s 2-10 opening season was pretty much a disaster. Still, Maryland finished with a recruiting class ranked 35th nationally by one site. Edsall, though, wanted Maryland to climb higher. Locksley is considered among the best in the business at closing.
More than a decade ago, Locksley delivered for former head coach Ralph Friedgen even before Friedgen took over after Ron Vandelinden was fired in 2000. As Maryland’s recruiting coordinator from 1998 to 2003, Locksley assembled the classes that provided the foundation for three seasons of at least 10 victories from the 2001-03 seasons. Friedgen never won as many as 10 games in his final seven seasons at Maryland.
Locksley also was a successful recruiter as an assistant coach at Florida and Illinois. He was fired after only two seasons as New Mexico’s head coach. Edsall hired Locksley to run the offense and do what he does best: get players. This season’s class is ranked as high as 30th, which isn’t surprising to Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy.
Locksley is “just from another planet,” Milloy said. “I’ve never seen anybody work a room and talk to kids like he does. And he just sells ’em.”
Maybe a little of Locksley’s recruiting charm is rubbing off on the head coach. Edsall used his one-on-one skills, Maryland people say, to persuade wide receiver Taivon Jacobs, a two-time Post All-Met selection from Suitland High, to sign with Maryland. Jacobs originally made a verbal commitment to Ohio State.
“We closed strong,” Edsall said. “That says something.”
Edsall and Maryland definitely are making a statement in recruiting. Their next big move needs to come in the win-loss column.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.