The Locksley factor

If getting Diggs to stay home helped make Edsall's first recruiting class respectable, getting Locksley to return to Maryland might eventually make Terps a factor in the Big Ten. Locksley, who, as the recruiting coordinator for Friedgen and Ron Vanderlinden brought many of the key players onto three straight Maryland bowl teams with 10 wins or more, came back last winter after being fired at New Mexico.

Though many want to point to Locksley as the sole reason for Maryland's improved recruiting classes the past two years, Edsall said singling his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach out might not be a true reflection of the way he and his staff do that part of the job.

"Mike is a very good recruiter. He's very strong, powerful and he relates well," Edsall said. "But it ends up being a team effort. There's a guy that's recruiting a player, the position coach has to be involved and the kid has to like his position coach. From the head coach's perspective, can he have a relationship with the head coach? It's the same thing we talk about with our players and being a team. It's a team effort in recruiting."

Friendship Collegiate Academy coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim agrees. "I would say it's about equal [between Edsall and Locksley]," he said. "It's interchangeable parts. Without one, I don't think the other would be as successful. If Locksley was there and the right head coach isn't in place, it might not have worked and vice versa. It's a happy marriage between everyone."

But Abdul-Rahim concedes that unlike last year, when Locksley was hired late in the recruiting process, "I think he had a big imprint on this year's class."

Abdul-Rahim said Edsall is making the local players more of a priority and that he and his assistants have worked harder at developing relationships with the local coaches than Friedgen and his staff did.

"It's not just putting a kid on the radar. Sometimes in the past Maryland would offer a kid just because everyone was offering him, but they wouldn't go hard after him," Abdul-Rahim said. "I think people have a higher level of respect for what Randy Edsall is doing off the field, making it more than just football."

Abdul-Rahim said Maryland's relationship with Under Armour is also a factor.

"The rise and the success and the popularity of Under Armour is huge. Certain kids want that gear as well," Abdul-Rahim said. "They do look at that, the individuality. The D.C. area is big on wanting to stand out and be different than other areas. It's different than New York; it's different than the South. Just having that Under Armour appeal is a big deal as well."

Said Lemming: "They've got Under Armour supporting them. They should be like Oregon [with Nike's backing]. Kids love multi-colored uniforms. That's one of the ways kids make decisions."

Edsall knows that it's going to take more time — and fewer injuries — for the Terps to make the kind of progress and have the success that will quiet his detractors and reinvigorate a fan base that has not returned to Byrd Stadium on a regular basis since Friedgen's early years. The past two recruiting classes are the start of that process.

"You might look at Virginia Tech, and Frank [Beamer] can select who he wants because of the success that they've had," Edsall said. "You've got to have success more than just one or two years. Then you have that continuity where you become one of those schools, and it might be only in your own state or your region that you're a selector, but to get to get that status nationally, that takes a lot of winning and history and tradition to do that."

Edsall knows that's a long way off. The 2013 season is still more than four months away. Recruiting continues with the 2014 class. Maryland already has commitments from two local prospects in St. John's (D.C.) four-star quarterback Will Ulmer and McDonogh three-star offensive lineman Jared Cohen.

For now, that's the reality for Edsall and Maryland.

It might not be a perfect world, but it is certainly more promising than it has been for awhile.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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