Maryland Coach Randy Edsall unveiled a 24-man recruiting class Wednesday afternoon, highlighting what he considered the group’s depth and the athleticism and character of the players.
Edsall said the Terrapins are making inroads in the region, which includes Maryland, Virginia, Washington and Pennsylvania. He emphasized that 11 players hail from Maryland or Washington, five from Pennsylvania and one from Virginia.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the class was not ranked among the nation’s top 50, according to Rivals.com’s rankings of the top 50 recruiting classes. In the ACC, Rivals.com ranks the class seventh out of 12 teams.
“The only evaluation that matters is our evaluation,” Edsall said during a 36-minute news conference inside the Gossett Team House. “All these other evaluations on the outside really don’t mean anything to me, to our staff.”
The most touted signees, of course, include two Good Counsel High players, offensive lineman Mike Madaras and running back Wes Brown. Albert Reid, the D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year, is another highly regarded running back that will enable the Terrapins to have options at a position that lacked depth just a few weeks ago.
Even on the eve of finalizing another well-regarded recruiting haul, Virginia Coach Mike London grew anxious. He attended part of the men’s basketball team’s victory over Clemson on Tuesday night before grabbing a bite to eat with his son at the local Five Guys. The night ended with London watching Jay Leno’s opening monologue and then enduring Sally Jessy Raphael re-runs.
But unlike a few other coaches around the country, London had nothing to worry about come Wednesday morning. All 25 members of Virginia’s 2012 recruiting class filed their national letters of intent by noon, making for a rather uneventful day. The good kind of uneventful, according to London.
“You’re always worried about did somebody get to your young men before then? Was anything ethical or unethical done?” London said Wednesday afternoon. “Those are things that you can’t control. Sometimes people may change their minds. But I always worry. Now I’m not worried because they’re all signed.”
Virginia’s class – ranked No. 26 in the nation, according to Rivals.com – includes the top-rated player in the state of Virginia (defensive end Eli Harold), the son of a Cavaliers football legend (defensive end Michael Moore, the son of former Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore) and a host of tall, athletic wide receivers.
Also, incoming quarterback Matt Johns will join quarterback Greyson Lambert, who enrolled at Virginia a semester early.
“I look at this class and who’s in it,” London said. “With the defensive ends, I look at it as guys that can make a significant impact in this program because of that height and that athleticism.”
Chances are many in the 28-member freshman class Virginia Tech officially welcomed to its football program during National Signing Day won’t receive much playing time next season.
But after watching three of the team’s four high-profile undecided prospects pick the Hokies on Wednesday, cementing what Rivals.com now considers the No. 20 recruiting class in the country, Coach Frank Beamer couldn’t help but look forward to how this group could help with the wounds of last month’s Sugar Bowl loss and similar disappointments from years past.
“I think we took another step towards reaching our goals at Virginia Tech. There’s no question we won a lot of games, we just need to take that next step and win a lot of BCS games,” Beamer said. “We won a lot of big games to get to a big game in the BCS, but I think this class gives us a chance to, next time we get to that BCS game, to have more success.
“I really feel good about this class,” he later added. “I mean really, really good.”
With defensive end Ken Ekanem and wide receiver Joel Caleb both announcing Wednesday morning that they would be coming to Virginia Tech, the Hokies ended up landing seven four-star recruits, a record for the school since Rivals began tracking that sort of thing. Perhaps more importantly, 17 of the Hokies’ 28 recruits are from the state of Virginia this year.