Maryland’s big win at Texas this weekend has made an impression on several of the Terrapins’ recruits who are watching this season with interest.
“It’s like the final piece of bread you put on your sandwich,” said Raymond Boone, a 2018 Terrapin commit and star safety at Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Terps have been building up to this moment for years, Boone said, perfecting their craft, choosing the right components to make a team that was inconsistent in the ACC into a Big Ten Conference contender. And then, like a mouthwatering, completed sandwich, a moment of satisfaction arrives: a filling bite of bread, meats and cheeses, and more bread; an upset win that claims “We’ve arrived.”
“I knew what Maryland was capable of doing,” Boone said. “So when they won it, it’s on to the next one. They had something like an 11 percent chance to win that game. But I know Coach [DJ] Durkin. I know those guys. I knew it wasn’t going to be like that.”
The 51-41 victory Saturday in the Lone Star State gave the Terrapins some extra juice on the local recruiting trail, too. Durkin and his staff have been selling local prospects on playing for their hometown team.
But local Maryland commits have told The Washington Post for months they didn’t choose the Terps because College Park is close to home. They chose Maryland because they saw the team on the verge of a win like this — and years’ worth of contention in the Big Ten.
“The biggest thing that came out of the win was from the recruiting standpoint, it made Maryland shoot up,” said Brian Cobbs, another 2018 commit and Hayfield’s three-star wide receiver. “Everyone was focused on Michigan or Ohio State or something, but a lot of local guys, they see Maryland can be a top team.
“This is not just a luck win,” Cobbs added. “This is all skill.”
Maryland has stacked its roster with regional talent. Quarterback Kasim Hill, a St. John’s graduate, and tailback Jake Funk, from Damascus, scored the game-clinching touchdowns against the Longhorns.
The Terrapins have 10 local commits in the class of 2018, and those recruits say they have been talking up the Terps to younger high school players. Class of 2018 offensive lineman Rasheed Walker of North Point, 2019 wide receiver Isaiah Hazel of Wise and 2020 linebacker Mekhail Sherman of St. John’s are all highly recruited and uncommitted players currently considering offers from the Terps.
Maryland can be a football destination for big wins, Boone said, not just because it’s close to home. And with the region’s talent — the best in the nation, according to NCAA data — why shouldn’t Maryland compete nationally?
“If everyone stayed home, we’d be so good,” Boone said. “Every year there’s four or five guys who go out of state to Alabama or something. If they stayed here, things would be different. Well, I wanted to be a leader in that.”
In 2017, Maryland commits hope the strategy starts to satisfy.
» Flint Hill 2019 running back Jordan Houston has some campus visits set, he tweeted last week. The three-star tailback attended the West Virginia-Virginia Tech thriller over the weekend at FedEx Field. He is set to visit Penn State this Saturday when the Nittany Lions host Pittsburgh.
Houston has offers from both Penn State and Virginia Tech along with Tennessee, Boston College and Old Dominion.
» Wise 2019 wide receiver Isaiah Hazel picked up an offer from West Virginia on Sept. 1, Pumas coaches confirmed. Hazel is considered the top recruit in the state for his class, according to scouting service 247Sports, and counts Maryland among his offers, as mentioned above.
» DeMatha 2019 wide receiver DeMarcco Hellams added a South Carolina scholarship offer on Sept. 1, a week after he caught four passes for 105 yards and a touchdown against national powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Nev.).
» St. John’s 2018 quarterback Kevin Doyle helped his recruiting stock with another big game against De La Salle (Calif.). The Philadelphia native completed 21 of 35 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score.
He led the Cadets on a long fourth-quarter drive to try to take a late lead, but St. John’s was stopped on fourth and goal from inside the 5 yard-line.
» Keep an eye on Gonzaga 2021 quarterback Caleb Williams, who continues to provide production for the Eagles as a freshman starter. He is completing 56 percent of his passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns through two games.
» South County 2018 wideout Dillon Spalding never ceases to amaze with crazy stats and crazier catches. After two games, with a brand new quarterback, Spalding is on pace for 1,600 yards receiving, 30 touchdowns and 75 catches this season.
Here’s his latest highlight-worthy catch and score:
The last guy who had a season like that was Tuscarora running back Noah Reimers in 2014. He was named All-Met Player of the Year and committed to Harvard. Spalding, a four-star recruit, is still uncommitted but is considering offers from Tennessee, Temple, West Virginia, East Carolina and Virginia Tech, among others.
» We’re trying to keep a running list of all the players in the area with Power Five conference offers. And we’ve recently added a page for the class of 2020. Are we missing anyone? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweeting @jacobbogage, and we’ll make updates.
More high school sports coverage: