Fresh off an official visit to Florida, a weekend he deemed the best of the four visits he took during the recruiting process, McNamara offensive lineman Damian Prince spent the last two days sifting through the glitz and hype. For all the tweets, Instagram messages and texts he had received from coaches and fans working to sway him to their school of choice during the last six months, Prince wanted to find the college that would best serve him down the line, when he was no longer a highly touted recruit and simply one unproven freshman among many in a college football program.
Throughout his search, Prince kept coming back to Maryland, the first school to offer him a scholarship and the last team standing when the nation’s top uncommitted offensive lineman announced his college choice on Wednesday in front of ESPNU cameras during a school ceremony.
Here’s video from the big moment:
— Brandon Parker (@brandoncparker) February 5, 2014
“You know, one thing I started noticing at the end of my recruitment was, after the cameras turn off, after the lights go down, who’s really going to be there for you,” said Prince, a Parade All-American. “I felt like at the University of Maryland, I had the best relationship with them and their coaching staff.”
Ranked the No. 26 overall recruit by ESPN, the two-time All-Met had whittled his 40-plus Football Bowl Subdivision offers down to Maryland, Florida and South Carolina on Wednesday. College coaches were drawn to Prince’s athleticism and speed along the line, skills that were enhanced this past fall after he dropped 50 pounds.
The Under Armour All-American said he decided on Maryland last night and called the other finalists to break the news.
“That was definitely tough and that’s where I feel like the maturity stuff started to come in,” Prince said while sporting a red and black Terrapins cap. “Coaches are going to be hyped and you have a great visit but like I said, when the lights turn off and the cameras go dim, who’s going to be there for you? I feel happy with Maryland.”
Joining Prince in College Park will be Good Counsel defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam and St. John’s quarterback Will Ulmer, who both signed their letters of intent early Wednesday morning. Prince hopes this trio can help draw more local talent to the Terrapins as they enter play in the Big Ten next year.
“I feel like I’m going to start a new trend because guys have kind of been afraid to stay home and go to Maryland,” Prince said. “So I feel like, hopefully I started a new trend and the rest of the local guys will follow along.”
The Terrapins also got another McNamara athlete Wednesday in Alfred Bannister, the all-time winningest wrestler in Maryland state history. He and Prince were joined in the ceremony by second-team All-Met Jordan Crockett, who signed with Albany after being the most prolific wide receiver in McNamara history, Regan Howard, who signed with Fairmont State football, and Isaiah Chambers, who signed to play baseball at Maryland-Eastern Shore.
For more on how Prince transformed his body prior to his senior season, check out the video below. Also read about the family tragedies Prince has overcome to reach this point in his life here:
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