Maryland secured its first verbal commitment for the Class of 2016 Wednesday, DeMatha running back Lorenzo Harrison.
Harrison had offers from Virginia, Hawaii and others. But his coach, Elijah Brooks, said Harrison has always wanted to stay close to home and sees himself fitting in well at Maryland.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Brooks said during a phone interview. “He can do it all — run in between the tackles, get outside, can line up as a slot receiver, can return kicks, so he’s just an all-around good football player.”
The 5-foot-7, 187-pound Harrison is listed as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, but Rivals lists him as the 10th-best all-purpose running back in the Class of 2016.
Harrison suffered a dislocated elbow during DeMatha’s season-opener last week, an injury that Brooks expects to sideline Harrison for about a month. But Brooks said Harrison had more than 500 rushing yards as a freshman on varsity in 2012 and had around 860 rushing yards plus about 25 catches as a sophomore last season.
“He would have easily broke the 1,000 yard mark [rushing] if he was healthy this year,” Brooks said.
Harrison's commitment is important to Maryland for other reasons as well.
DeMatha has one of the top football programs in the state and consistently puts out top recruits, but the last recruit from DeMatha to sign with the Terps was offensive lineman Pete DeSouza in 2009, two years before Randy Edsall took over as Maryland's coach.
In addition, Harrison could help out with some other top Class of 2016 recruits from Maryland.
DeMatha teammate and Penn State commit Shane Simmons has talked about wanting to help build the Class of 2016 recruiting class at Penn State. Brooks said Harrison wants to do something similar at Maryland.
“Lorenzo’s highly respected here at DeMatha and has many friends in the area,” Brooks said, “so I know with that he’s going to be an influence on some other guys.”
The Terps are deep at running back with juniors Brandon Ross and Albert Reid as well as sophomore Wes Brown. However, Ross and Reid will both be gone by the time Harrison would arrive at Maryland while Brown would be a senior, and Brooks sees offensive coordinator Mike Locksley’s offense being a good fit for Harrison and his skill set.
“They do a great job getting their playmakers the ball in space. It really fits what he does well,” Brooks said. “Maryland is a great school. His family can see him play right down the road, and what they do offensively is a good fit for him.”
Rivals.com first reported Harrison’s commitment.
NOTE: Shortly after Harrison committed Wednesday, Class of 2015 three-star running back Deltron Sands announced on Twitter that he has decommitted from Maryland and re-opened his recruitment. Sands reportedly received an offer from Louisville recently and appears likely to sign with the Cardinals.