The exoduses begin every year around this time, right after the letters-of-intent have been signed and the fax machines finally begin to cool. College football assistant coaches stick around through National Signing Day then leave their programs, whether to the NFL, other colleges or simply because they were jettisoned from their current location. It happens like clockwork.
Maryland, on the other hand, took the opposite route. With every assistant coach except offensive coordinator Mike Locksley under a contract that expired well before Wednesday morning, Coach Randy Edsall wanted to set his new staff so they could meet recruits before everything was finalized.
So by the time Maryland’s 17 recruits for its class of 2014 were made official, defensive line coach Chad Wilt, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell had already made the rounds, met their future players and been assigned recruiting territories.
“That was something I wanted to be able to get done and we worked very diligently, and I think we got three outstanding coaches and people and guys that have a really good track record, guys who can really relate and recruit,” Edsall said. “They played a big part in going down the stretch here.”
When he addressed reporters on Wednesday, recruiting coordinator John Dunn brought a sheet of paper with the designated areas spelled out. Otherwise, he said, he wouldn’t have remembered. Many assistant coaches have secondary areas, but the following are the main spots for the new coaches:
Wilt: Montgomery County, Alleghany County, Garrett County, Washington County, Chicago, Indianapolis , central to eastern Virginia including the Tidewater region and Richmond. (Lyndon Johnson handles Northern Virginia and Andre Powell handles the southwest coordinator.)
“We try to fit where guys have been, where they have relationships with coaches,” Dunn said. “Obviously coming from Ball State, being in Indiana, being in the Midwest, he’s kind of had some ties in those areas. So we’re going to let him go back there.”
Studrawa: Frederick County, Carroll County, western Pennsylvania, Cincinnati, Cleveland and other major areas in Ohio, his home state.
McCardell: Delaware, Houston and northern Florida.
“Obviously he’s got a name in Jacksonville where he had a great career,” Dunn said of the former all-pro Jaguars receiver.
For reference in Florida, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley handles central Florida to the southwest and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has the southeast.
>> Noticeably absent from the class was a running back, but Edsall said that was not a priority. “Didn’t feel the need to get a running back this year,” he said. “We have seven guys there between fullback and running backs and that’s kind of the number we like.”
With Wes Brown returning from his university-imposed semester-long suspension as a redshirt sophomore and both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid returning as rising juniors, the Terps have that position solidified in future years and liked the progress Jacquille Veii showed as a true freshman last fall.
That said, Maryland did recruit – and initially secured a commitment from — Massachusetts running back Johnathan Thomas before he flipped to Penn State, so it’s somewhat revisionist history, but the Terps didn’t seriously pursue any other running back after Thomas left.
>> Edsall had no desire to take the bait when asked about disappointments. Several top local prospects had Maryland among their top programs – a trio of offensive linemen in DeMatha’s Brock Ruble (Florida State), McDonogh’s Jared Cohen (North Carolina after decommitting from the Terps) and Floridian Marcus Applefield (Rutgers), for instance, all went elsewhere – but Edsall was firmly content discussing only the players who had pledged.
“I never worry about misses,” he said. “I only worry about the guys we have. The guys that we signed are the ones who are most important. Guys who don’t want to be here, they’re missing out on something special. I don’t ever worry about them. The guys that signed today, they want to be a part of what we’re doing, something special here and embrace them. The guys maybe we went after who didn’t want to be here, we wish them good luck and we’ll see the on the field or see them somewhere down the road.
“But I don’t ever worry about that. In this business, you don’t worry about the guys you don’t get. I think people make too big of a deal of that, when people say you lose people. We never lose people because we never had them to begin with. The thing that’s important is signing the kids today and then taking those kids and developing them and making them the best they can be.”
>> Edsall said that four-star Good Counsel defensive end Jesse Aniebonam will play the “Will” linebacker spot, the blitz-heavy position in defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s 3-4 defense at which Marcus Whitfield tallied nine sacks this season.
“We’re anxious,” Edsall said. ‘We targeted Jesse very early. He’s another young man who we ended up having at our camp at a young age, had him around here, has been around us quite a bit. He’s another young man who’s got a great future ahead of him. Really just like his size, speed and athletic ability.”
>> Season tickets went on sale Tuesday, and Maryland said it sold 1,000 in the first day. Its home games this season are against James Madison (Aug. 30), West Virginia (Sept. 13), Ohio State (Oct. 4), Iowa (Oct. 18), Michigan State (Nov. 15) and Rutgers (Nov. 29).
Full National Signing Day Coverage on AllMetSports.com: