Terps Football: National Signing Day Preview
While the early signing period has come and gone, Maryland football head coach Michael Locksley will have a chance to finalize his 2019 recruiting class on National Signing Day on February 6th. The Terrapins currently have just 6 signed members in their class, with 6 additional commits. Locksley will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to salvage a class that has been severely affected by the program’s turmoil last year as well as his late arrival to College Park.
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The Current Class
As it stands today, these are the 6 signed members of Maryland’s 2019 recruiting class:
4-star WR Isaiah Hazel (Upper Marlboro, MD)
3-star WR Dino Tomlin (Pittsburgh, PA)
3-star TE Malik Jackson (Fort Meade, MD)
3-star OT Mason Lunsford (Olney, MD)
3-star CB Deonte Banks (Edgewood, MD)
3-star ATH Lavonte Gater (Washington, DC)
Hazel was the latest addition to Locksley’s class, and is also the highest rated. He flipped his commitment from West Virginia to Maryland, and had been recruited by Locksley while he was at Alabama. Tomlin is the son of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and is considered an underrated talent. Gater is rated as an athlete, but will most likely play cornerback.
6 additional players have committed to Maryland, and are expected to sign next week:
3-star DE Deshawn Holt (Waldorf, MD)
3-star JuCo DE Sam Okuayinonu (Virginia, MN)
3-star LB Kameron Blount (Waldorf, MD)
3-star CB Erwin Byrd (Powder Springs, GA)
3-star CB Tayvion Land (Virginia Beach, VA)
3-star S Treron Collins (Fairburn, GA)
Land and Collins are both excellent players who should strengthen the Terrapins’ secondary. Okuayinonu is a solid JuCo pickup with experience to assist in the replacement of Byron Cowart.
With 6 signed players and 6 commits, Locksley and his coaching staff will certainly be looking to add some more players to their 2019 class. These seem to be the most likely candidates:
4-star LB Eugene Asante (Chantilly, VA)
3-star TE Tyler Devera (Oradell, NJ)
3-star TE Gerald Drumgoole (La Porte, IN)
3-star OT Marcus Finger (Fort Myers, FL)
3-star JuCo OG Parris Heath (Brooklyn, NY)
3-star DE Anthony Booker (Cincinnati, OH)
3-star S Cortez Andrews (Tallahassee, FL)
Asante is one of the few blue-chip recruits that Maryland will be pursuing before National Signing Day, and they’ll have their work cut out for them if they hope to lock him down. Competition for his commitment is primarily coming from Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. After visiting Tallahassee last weekend, he’ll be in Chapel Hill on February 1st.
While not listed here, the Terrapins will be hosting 4-star dual-threat QB Lance LeGendre from New Orleans this weekend. He’s largely expected to commit to Florida State, where he’s being recruited by Kendal Briles.
Finger is a UCF commit, but will be visiting College Park this weekend and has listed the Terrapins as the favorites for his commitment.
The 2019 class was always expected to be a much smaller one than previous years based on the classes former head coach DJ Durkin and his staff brought in. Maryland currently owns the #80 class in the country, and the worst in the Big Ten Conference. If Locksley can bring in a handful of the players listed above next week, they may be able to surpass Rutgers for the second-worst class in the conference. However, it’s unlikely that any action taken will make much of a dent in their overall rankings.
Despite having no commitments yet for the 2020 recruiting class, Locksley and his coaching staff are already working hard to make next year a much more successful one. Hiring former DeMatha Catholic High School head coach Elijah Brooks to coach running backs could have an immediate payoff, with 5-star RB MarShawn Lloyd coming out of the Hyattsville powerhouse in 2020.