Diggs would give Terps a 5-star commitment but no guarantee of success

After a winding, drawn-out and often befuddling recruitment that has snaked past national signing day and left him as Rivals.com’s lone uncommitted five-star prospect, Good Counsel wide receiver Stefon Diggs reportedly is set to announce his commitment to Maryland at a bar within walking distance from Byrd Stadium.

The Washington Post’s Josh Barr reported last night that Diggs is “poised to announce Friday that he will accept a scholarship offer to play for Maryland,” with his decision coming 6 p.m. tonight at Looney’s Pub in College Park.

Diggs’ expected commitment gives the Terps an instant-impact freshman who will be expected to revitalize an offense that lacked a downfield passing game last season and may be without its best pro-style quarterback next season. The consensus No. 2 wide receiver in his class, Diggs represents the most important recruit in Randy Edsall’s tenure and perhaps the biggest for the Maryland program in the age of recruiting websites and televised all-star games.

As the Terps’ own track record shows, however, five stars tend to beget only lofty expectations and, sometimes, even greater disappointment:

2003: Linebacker Wesley Jefferson. The Brandywine native proved a serviceable linebacker for the Terps, starting 15 games and racking up 110 tackles in his junior season. But after graduating early, Jefferson decided he’d rather start a career as a state trooper than go back for another season in College Park.

2005: Defensive end Melvin Alaeze. At least Jefferson saw the field regularly. At last check, Alaeze was behind bars, serving an eight-year prison term after pleading guilty in 2007 to first-degree assault. The former Randallstown High School star failed to qualify for Maryland coming out of high school, then found a new haven in Illinois when the Terps rescinded his scholarship offer following five – yes, five – marijuana-related offenses. Blessed with the speed of a running back and the size of a lineman, Alaeze played in just one game at Illinois before leaving the program. His life, of course, never got much better.

2007: Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. The hulking left tackle, who got the five-star bump after a year at prep school, was penciled in as the cornerstone of the Terps’ line from the time he finally stepped foot in College Park. But those same feet soon became as big an issue as Campbell’s unpolished ability. He started late in his freshman campaign, became a regular as a sophomore and then saw his junior season undercut by turf toe and an MCL injury. When he played, and played well, he was an impassable object against some of the nation’s best defensive ends. But those games were few and far between, and Campbell skipped his senior season for a shot at the next level. He’s followed just about the same script in the NFL; after generating first-round buzz with a 4.75 40-yard dash, he went in the fourth round to Oakland, where he’s been serviceable as a backup.

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