The success of football programs -- which are commodities in the business of selling themselves -- relies partly on perception.
That -- among other reasons -- is why it would be hard to overstate the importance of Maryland's successful recruitment of standout wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who signed a national letter of intent Friday
Maryland eagerly wants to turn the page. It hopes to turn fans' gaze away from the players departing to the ones arriving. It wants its followers to look forward to 2012 instead of backward to 2011.
Rather than focus on last season's 2-10 under new coach Randy Edsall, the athletic department wants fans to think about ... promise.
I'm not saying that the signing of Diggs is merely cosmetic. He appears to be a playmaker with the ability to elevate an offense.
But what Diggs importantly brings is spark.
Maryland fans at a recent men's basketball game did alternating chants of "Stefon" and "Diggs" and "We want Diggs!" to serenade the recruit during a Comcast Center visit.
They are jazzed about this kid. And that's important for a program that endured such a trying season.
There is also the matter or recruiting credibility.
“This shows our commitment and effort to keep the best local players at home,” Edsall said in a written statement. “We got the No. 1 player in the state of Maryland (Diggs) and the Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington, D.C. (Albert Reid of Friendship Collegiate Academy). Hopefully the top players in the area will follow their lead in the future.”
High-school players tend to notice who goes where. Sometimes the acquisition of one kid can ultimately lead to the signing of many more. If you're a Maryland fan, you sure hope so.