Maryland football recruits conflicted over Don Brown's departure

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 10, 2011; 11:32 PM

Through all the noise surrounding the Maryland football program since mid-December - the coach was fired; a new coach was hired; wait, that coach was hired? - the one constant, reassuring voice representing the Terrapins in Lukas Foreman's ear belonged to Don Brown, the defensive coordinator who had recruited him from the beginning.

Foreman, a native of Naples, Fla., whom rated a three-star prospect at linebacker, said he chose to honor his oral commitment to Maryland in large part because of Brown's unwavering presence throughout the previous two months.

Then, two days after he signed a letter-of-intent that officially bound him to play for the Terrapins, Foreman learned via text message from another Maryland recruit that Brown had left to take the same job at Connecticut, leaving Foreman and the rest of Maryland's class of 2011 prospects to digest conflicting emotions.

"I wish, if he knew earlier, that he would have done it before signing day," Foreman said. "I was so mad when I found out, but then I called [Maryland assistant recruiting coordinator Ryan Steinberg] and he told me what happened and everything. [Brown] did it to be with his family. You can't be mad at that."

On Thursday, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Maryland was close to an agreement with Randy Shannon, who would replace Brown as defensive coordinator and complete new Coach Randy Edsall's staff. Shannon spent four seasons as Miami's head coach, until he was fired after last season. He compiled a 28-22 record.

The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that Maryland had offered Shannon the job.

Foreman and several other defensive prospects in Maryland's newest recruiting class said they could understand and appreciate Brown's decision. It was Brown's timing that left them stung.

The man who told them in recent weeks he had signed a three-year contract with the Terrapins, the man who told them on national signing day he couldn't wait for them to arrive on campus, was gone shortly after the ink on their respective letters dried.

Brown, a man with deep New England roots whose family never joined him in College Park, abruptly ended his two-year stint as defensive coordinator Feb. 4.

In an interview, new Edsall said he was caught off-guard by Brown's decision. But Edsall explained Brown had a 19-year-old daughter who recently had a baby and that Brown decided it was time to move back closer to his family.

Through a Connecticut team spokesman, Brown declined an interview request for this story.

The six Maryland 2011 defensive recruits interviewed in the past week said they remained committed and excited to play for the Terrapins - not that they have many other appealing choices. When a prospect signs a letter-of-intent to a school, he is bound by NCAA rule to play for that school, barring extreme circumstances such as a family illness or a head coaching change.

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