McDonough returns only six starters from last year’s Maryland 2A state championship team, but the Rams added two Division I-caliber senior cornerbacks who transferred from rival schools during the offseason.

Marchez Coates transferred from North Point and committed to Pittsburgh last month. David Jones came over from Westlake and has received offers from Akron and VMI.

“They have lived up to the billing of being Division I athletes,” McDonough Coach Luke Ethington said. “They are falling in line with becoming the type of athlete we try to develop here.”

Both players moved into McDonough’s zone during the spring, and they traveled together with help from McDonough boosters to 7 on 7 events and one-day camps over the summer where recruiters took notice.

Coates was a relative unknown who had just nine tackles last year in limited playing time for North Point, but the athleticism he showed in summer workouts put him on the map.

“His game film doesn’t match up,” Ethington said. “Scouts would say ‘he has lights out athleticism, but we’re not seeing it on the film.’ I would just tell them to trust what you see in front of you and not just the tape.”

Coates chose Pittsburgh over N.C. State, Eastern Michigan, Toledo and Robert Morris.

Jones is not as far along in the recruiting process, but Ethington said he expects Jones to receive more offers by the end of the season.

McDonough remains a favorite in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.

“There is still some work to be done with both of these guys,” Ethington said. “Right now our focus is on getting them to play good football for McDonough. The other things will fall into place.”