InsideMDSports.com

InsideMDSports.com (March 22, 2012)

Editor's note: Each week, InsideMdSports.com provides this blog with a Maryland recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site.

Maryland’s coaching staff continues to make McDonough (Md.) offensive lineman Na’Ty Rodgers a top priority in the 2013 recruiting cycle.

“They’ve been here several times. They were at our game a few weeks ago. I’m in contact with their staff,” said McDonough coach Luke Ehtington. “Their staff has been very consistent since Day One, that he’s a major priority for them. They’ve been very consistent and honest about their need for players at his position and that he could come in and play right away, so he’s definitely a priority.”

Ethington said Rodgers, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior rated the No. 20 offensive tackle in the nation, remains focused on three schools: Maryland, South Carolina and Oklahoma. He’s visited all three this season, and will take his official visit to Maryland in December. Michigan entered the fray with an offer last week, but Rodgers is likely to maintain his top three and choose from them during the Under Armour All-American game in early January.

Ethington said he’s aware of Maryland commitment Derwin Gray’s efforts to recruit Rodgers and added that Maryland’s youth movement and location will help its cause.

“Sometimes the biggest recruiting tool you have is a popular kid like Derwin who has a lot of influence with his peers," Ethington said. "Over the course of time, I think it does start to weigh on a young man’s mind. Obviously you want to play with people you know. I think it’s a pretty strong factor, Derwin being there."

Rodgers has an excellent frame for a college offensive lineman, with long arms, good feet and versatility; Ethington believes he could play any spot on the offensive line. So it’s no surprise that he’s received dozens of BCS offers. Maryland was among the first schools to begin recruiting him, and the Terrapins’ staff has made a strong impression on his coach as well.

“I got to spend time with coach Edsall when we went to their team camp last summer. The assistants were also very open and spent a of quality time with us and were sincere about getting to know us, and just had a positive aura,” he said. “They were all on the same page about coach Edsall’s leadership and where they wanted the program to go. Sometimes I noticed them all using the same phrases. So if you analyze people’s words, you come to the conclusion that you’ve got coaches buying in and players buying in. It’s just going to take some time."

To gain access to all of InsideMDSports.com's premium Terps sports and recruiting content, click HERE.