In Dark Times, Maryland Football Has a Bright Future

By Steven Dilsizian

The University of Maryland dumps the most money into the one sport that the school seemingly struggles the most in. Football. The Terps stand today at a record of 2-3 with an upsetting home loss to MAC foe Bowling Green earlier in the season with a final score of 48-27. Following that loss, two weeks later Maryland is blown out by rival West Virginia 45-6. As it stands right now, Maryland is projected to not qualify for a bowl game this season and will not finish the season at .500. The team has struggled to establish a starting quarterback the entire season and has showed a lack luster effort on both sides of the ball. To add to all of this, it seems as if head coach Randy Edsall will be fired following the Ohio State game this upcoming Saturday. It may seem like a dark and gloomy time right now for the Terps, however there is a visible light at the end of tunnel.

The Terps have a top 50 recruiting class coming into College Park with some players that can make an immediate impact on as well as off the football field. The most notable of the entire 2016 recruiting class is Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. out of The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. An Under Armour All-American, and top 10 quarterback in the country, Haskins was recently declared by Maxpreps as the best high school football player in the entire state of Maryland and possesses a special type of leadership alongside his top-tier play. With 37 offers on the table for Haskins coming from the best football programs in the nation such as Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State, Haskins declared that he would be staying home and become a Terp where he will not only start his own legacy, but give hope and promise to a program in need. The impact that this one player has had on many fellow recruits before even playing a snap for the Terrapins has been enormous. Haskins has been the leader of the “DMVtoUMD” movement and has urged fellow top tier players in Maryland to stay home and join him in representing the state. The state of Maryland produces some of the best talent in the country, making it a popular recruiting ground for colleges around the country. Haskins knows this and understands that if he can keep these players home, the Terps could have a dangerous team for the first time in the Big Ten. It is one thing to say you are going to do something; it is another thing to actually go out there and do it. Haskins has done exactly what he has said so far and is still constantly trying to bring in as much talent as he can find. How has he done so far?

The Terps have received three commits from one of the top high school teams in the entire country. Dematha Catholic High School (D.C.) has always been one of the nations best in producing successful football players and is a powerhouse team throughout the nation each and every year. Haskins was able to get three playmakers from Dematha to come join him on the offensive side of the ball in College Park next year.

Three-star running back Lorenzo Harrison was the first to pledge to the Terps as he committed over a year ago back in September 2014. Harrison has claimed that he wanted to be aggressive when recruiting other players on Dematha and other local schools. Harrison was a big commitment to the Terps mainly because he broke a bad recruiting streak. Maryland hasn’t been able to keep players that go to powerhouse schools for a couple of years now. Harrison was one of the first in a long time and the fact he wanted to recruit others only made him even more valuable. Harrison is 5’8’’ and runs low to the ground, utilizing his explosive speed and hard cutting ability to avoid defenders. The Terrapins are losing their starting running back, Brandon Ross, next year as he graduates, leaving the backfield with some questions. However, one thing for sure is that Harrison can develop into a contributing back over the years.

Wide receivers Tino Ellis and DJ Turner have big time playmaking ability that gives them the chance to see some quality playing time next year for the Terps. 4-star prospect Tino Ellis most recently committed live on Comcast SportsNet Central where he spurned the Virginia Tech Hokies and joined the Terrapins. At 6 ‘1’’, Ellis is a tremendous athlete with quick footwork and can blow by defenses and stretch the field. Ellis is primarily the deep threat for Dematha and it wouldn’t be surprising if he serves that same type of role for the Terps. Alongside Ellis is DJ Turner who initially was being recruited by Maryland as an athlete with no determined position yet. Turner is a very well rounded athlete who played safety, kick returner, as well as wide receiver at Dematha. It has now been determined that Turner will become a receiver for the Terrapins. Along with Ellis, Turner is one of the top receivers in the state of Maryland and his commitment to the Terps only makes this offense potentially even more lethal. Turner however will have to watch his fellow teammates from the sidelines as he suffered a fractured fibula and will miss the rest of the season. The injury came during a nationally televised ESPN game where Dematha was facing No.2 Miami Central (Dematha would win the game 38-14). Turner has since then completed successful surgery and will come back better than ever for the Terps come next fall.

Some guys to keep an eye on throughout the recruiting process:

The younger brother of one of the best players in Maryland football history,Trevon Diggs was originally intended to commit this past July 4th however he decided to think things over and take more time with his decision. The 4 star athlete is being recruited as either a WR or a CB where he can blossom into an all-star at either position. The competition for Diggs seems to be narrowed down to either national powerhouse Alabama or Maryland, however anything can happen. Diggs has been strongly recruited by Haskins even before Haskins committed. Similarly to his older brother, Diggs will be maybe the best athlete on the field when he plays with his top of the line speed, vision, and ability to make great catches. On September 25th, both Haskins and Diggs got to face off against each other where Bullis faced off against Avalon (D.C.). Bullis would go on to win the game 36-18 where after the game, both players showed a lot of respect to one another. As of right now, Diggs does not have a new commitment date.

The top ranked OG in the entire state of Maryland, Terrance Davis is another target that Maryland would love to have join the movement. Another star from Dematha High school, fellow teammates Ellis, Turner, and Harrison are definitely trying to recruit Davis to join them. Davis would be one of the last pieces to cement the new and bigger offensive line that the Terps have been attempting to create. In order to compete with Big Ten competition, Maryland must field players that have more size and can matchup physically with some of the top-tier schools in the country. Davis stands at 6’4’’ and 305 lbs, which is exactly what Maryland needs, especially in protecting Haskins. Right now it looks like it is a two-team race for Davis’ services, with Michigan seeming to hold the upper hand over Maryland.

LB Keith Simms out of Bethesda, MD is another guy that Haskins had tried to recruit hard. Simms is a 3-star prospect according to 247 Sports and has always considered the Terps a possible landing spot for a long time. Simms took an unofficial visit to College Park September 5th along with other in-state prospects. Simms has always loved Stanford as well, but it looks like he is leaning towards joining the Terps, and they need it. Maryland lost many starters on the defensive side of the ball last season to graduation and has struggled so far to find replacements. Simms would be able to get a solid amount of playing time and could be a potential starting LB for the Terps in the early stages of his career.

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