Give Kingsley Opara credit.
While some recruits feign 100-percent commitment to their schools of choice, Opara’s been honest since he committed to Maryland in July that he would continue to evaluate all of his options.
“I’d say it’s about 50, 55 percent,” he said of his commitment Monday night. “But I feel good about it. I’m not going to say I’m totally committed, but I feel good, especially with how good their defense is. It looks like a fun defense to play in and it’s obviously successful. It’s one of the top ten in the NCAA.”
Opara, now halfway through his senior season at Mandarin High in Jacksonville, Fla., still hasn’t planned any official visits – he had hoped to attend Maryland’s game this past weekend against Wake Forest, but couldn’t make it – and said Purdue, N.C. State and Ole Miss are among the schools showing the most interest.
“If I keep my options open and do end up visiting other schools, it will show me if I’m a Terrapin,” said Opara, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive lineman rated the nation’s No. 59 defensive tackle in 247Sports’ composite rankings. “I catch every game. I’m very impressed with the defense. It looks fun to play in and that’s a big plus.”
Maryland assistant Lyndon Johnson was in Florida to watch him two weeks ago and apparently came away impressed with Opara, who’s recorded 20 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in six games.
“I talked with him and he said he’d watched my tape and was really impressed at how much better I’ve gotten. He talked about how I could play various spots there and said I’m similar to Joe Vellano,” he said. “I’m pretty much unblockable now.”
Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has drawn rave reviews for the vast improvement of Maryland’s defense this year. Stewart’s acumen hasn’t been lost on Opara, who committed to Maryland in part because of Stewart’s credentials.
“We have a really good relationship. He sees me as a 3-4 defensive end because of my length and athleticism. He compares me to how he used Jay Ratliff with the Cowboys,” he said. “He was one of the big reasons I committed to Maryland, because of his connections to the NFL and how he has success everywhere he goes.”
Opara said he may wait until National Signing Day to finalize his decision, though he could also do so in December if no one has swayed him.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun