Maryland picked up its third verbal commitment for the 2009 football recruiting class yesterday when Kernersville (N.C.) East Forsyth quarterback Danny O’Brien pledged to UM.
The commitment came after O’Brien, his mother, stepfather and coach, Todd Willert, made the five-and-a-half hour trip from Kernersville to College Park earlier this week. On the car ride home, Willert could tell that O’Brien was impressed with what the Terps had to offer.
“Obviously, we had a lot of time to talk about things,” Willert said. “He felt really good. It was the first time his mom and step-dad were on campus. They really fell in love with it, which helped Danny in being more decisive. He wanted his mom to see the school before he committed. On the way back, I could tell. We sat in the back seat, and I just told him to go and enjoy it and sleep on it a little. Then he came back and said he wanted to be a Terp, so that’s the direction he wanted to go.”
Willert said, O’Brien, 6-foot-3 ½, 200 pounds, is a solid runner, but he’s primarily a drop-back passer.
“He is a pass-first guy, but he’s very athletic,” Willert said. “He’s an all-conference basketball player. He can dunk a basketball any which way you want him to. It’s not that he can’t be a running quarterback, but he chooses to throw first. He’s not a big kid that can’t escape. He’s got some good athletic ability.”
O’Brien, who became UM’s second quarterback commitment for ’09, joining Seneca Valley, Pa.’s C.J. Brown, considered a few in-state schools. Ultimately, Duke was Maryland’s biggest competition for O’Brien’s services.
“He had offers from ECU and Duke also,” Willert said. “U.Va. and Wake Forest had come into the picture also. He was thinking about going on a visit to Wake Forest this week. They had a camp on Sunday. But it truly came down to Duke and Maryland. Those were the two choices. He just feels really good about Maryland and feels really good about the situation, with some of the young players they have right now and the possibility of coming in and playing early. [UM offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James] Franklin and [tight ends coach Danny] Pearman are great guys. I feel really comfortable having one of my players there -- not that five-and-a-half hours is a really long way away -- but you want [the player to feel comfortable]. And I know coach Franklin and coach Pearman will do a great job with him.”
Check back with Recruiting Report early next week for more on O’Brien.
“Maryland is very impressive,” his father said. “I know he was very impressed with Maryland. We love the opportunity with them. Coach Friedgen was great and they are very high on our list.
“We haven’t been to West Virginia. It’s very intriguing with the offer, we want to see the school. I’d say the leading candidates now are Maryland and Virginia was very impressive.”
Hasty believes more offers will come Simmons’ way after a busy June in which he plans to attend one-day camps at Alabama, Maryland, N.C. State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Penn State is another possible camp destination for Simmons.
“I had offers from West Virginia, Akron and Buffalo and added Ohio and Eastern Michigan to the list,” he said. “I’m also talking to Syracuse, Maryland, Duke, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Rutgers. They all sound very interested in me.”
• I assume everyone has probably had their fill of Gus Gilchrist news by now, but here are just two additional links from the past week. First, Sun columnist David Steele says that Gilchrist’s departure is no fault of Gary Williams.
This can't, shouldn't, reflect on him, even if it piles on one of the more miserable springs he has experienced in College Park. Try to use it to fuel the fire raging in some quarters against Williams, and you'll come up dry.
The second link comes for TurtleSportsReport.com‘s Jeff Ermann, who spoke with Gilchrist’s trainer/advisor, Terrelle Woody. According to Woody, the reason for Gilchrist’s transfer was a desire for restored eligibility.
“Nah, no state of the program [issues] Gus was ready to play with his teammates and win games,” he said. “It wasn’t [an easy decision]. It’s something that he felt would be best for him, to get his full four years of college.”
Color me skeptical on that happening.
• Former Terps shooting guard signee Tyree Evans is still looking for a home, and The Record Courier in Ohio speculates that Kent State could be his destination -- if a scholarship opens up.
Even if Kent State was inclined to take a chance on Evans, it may not be able to fit him onto the roster. The Flashes do not have a scholarship available at the moment. Kentucky, Mississippi State and Texas Tech are also rumored to be interested in Evans ...
Beginning next weekend with a trip to Kansas, Harris will attend camps at or make unofficial visits to Kansas, Virginia, Indiana, Louisville, Marquette, Rutgers, Maryland, Florida, UConn, Arizona, Memphis and Syracuse.
Harris holds offers from Rutgers, UConn, Maryland, Arizona and Indiana, according to Torrel Harris, Tobias's father and coach of his Unique All-Stars AAU club.