One man's opinion on the potential of Maryland's 2013 football commitments. Post your takes below.
Most wanted: Given to the most heavily recruited Maryland commitments.
Derwin Gray – Friendship Collegiate Academy, offensive lineman, 6-5, 305 pounds
Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma were among the many traditional football powerhouses hoping to land Gray. The D.C. native, however, pledged to the Terps last summer and immediately became one of their best recruiters and most promising commitments. “I love Derwin Gray,” Scout.com analyst Brandon Huffman said. “I thought he was the best offensive lineman I saw at the Under Armour [All-America] game. Guy is a freak of nature.”
Will Likely – Glades Central (Fla.) High, cornerback, 5-7, 172 pounds
The diminutive defensive back had four hats on the table during his December announcement: Florida State, LSU, Maryland and Wake Forest. It’s unclear how vigorously the Seminoles and Tigers pursued Likely, but the Terps had to beat out several other ACC, Big Ten and SEC schools for the four-star prospect. Likely has enrolled at Maryland and will participate in spring practice.
Most likely to contribute early: Given to the recruits most likely to see the field right away
Deon Long – Iowa Western Community College, wide receiver, 6-1, 190 pounds
This one is a lock. Long is already a proven commodity at the junior college (Iowa Western Community College) and Division I (New Mexico) levels. Long, a Washington native and five-star prospect according to Rivals.com, has already enrolled at Maryland. “He’s an impact guy, a good receiver that’s going to have a chance to play right away,” Huffman said. “He’s definitely talented. He’s a guy that can help bolster the offense.” Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell said it will be “pick your poison” for opponents trying to cover Long and Stefon Diggs.
Jarrett Ross – Charter School of Wilmington (Del.), cornerback, 5-11, 190 pounds
The younger brother of Terps running back Brandon Ross committed to Maryland in January of 2012. Jarrett Ross, the No. 2-ranked player in Delaware, had a monster senior season with 75 tackles, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, plus 31 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns receptions, 75 carries for 505 yards and four touchdowns. “Jarrett Ross is an excellent high school football player,” 247Sports.com analyst J.C. Shurburtt said.
Most likely to be a multi-year starter
Andrew Isaacs – Manchester (Conn.) High, tight end, 6-3, 240 pounds
With the graduations of Matt Furstenberg, Devonte Campbell and Ryan Schlothauer, there will be plenty of opportunities for Isaacs, Dave Stinebaugh, P.J. Gallo and Daniel Adams to compete for playing time. It’s a big jump from Connecticut high school football to the ACC, but Farrell thinks the four-star prospect will eventually be up to the challenge. “Andrew Isaacs is raw and doesn’t play great competition, but he could be a sort of H-back, flex tight end. I like him a lot.”
Milan Collins – Bishop McNamara, safety, 6-2, 200 pounds
A high school quarterback, Collins has the size, speed and smarts to make it as Maryland’s free safety of the future. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s not lacking for confidence. “If I come in and know the ins and outs of the playbook and am able to make tackles in open space, just be a field general at free safety, they say I have a great opportunity,” Collins said.
Most likely to overachieve: Given to the overlooked recruits that exceeded expectations during the high school season.
Moise Larose – Wilde Lake, offensive tackle, 6-6, 290 pounds
The Terps didn’t offer Larose over the summer, prompting the Haiti-born lineman to commit to Rutgers. Once Maryland coaches saw him as a senior, however, they quickly extended a scholarship offer and flipped his commitment. Larose, a first-team Washington Post All-Met selection, could play offense or defense in College Park.
Jalen Brooks – North Gwinnett (Ga.), linebacker, 6-3, 220
Maryland beat out several Ivy League schools for Brooks’ commitment. He rewarded the Terps with an all-region season, recording 93 tackles (67 solo), 15 tackles for loss, five sacks, one pass batted down, three interceptions, 16 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one blocked kick and two touchdown returns on INTs.
Most underrated: Given to the recruits with the best chance at making their recruiting rankings look silly four years from now.
DeAndre’ Lane – Catonsville, running back/slot receiver, 5-8, 165 pounds
A two-star prospect according to Rivals.com, Lane might be the fastest prospect in this Maryland football class. He’s also one of the smallest recruits in the group, so a redshirt season seems like a good bet. Down the road, the Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection has the potential to be a valuable third-down back or slot receiver and returner for the Terps.
Elvis Dennah – Annapolis Area Christian School, safety, 6-3, 200 pounds
Dennah played for a winless AACS team as a senior, but fared well individually with 53 tackles (47 solo), 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 20-plus receptions and two touchdowns catches. When asked to pick sleepers in Maryland’s class, Huffman and Shurburtt both mentioned Dennah. “You have a 6-3 safety who could end up bulking up and becoming an outside linebacker,” Huffman said. “There’s not a whole lot of film on him, but the film I’ve seen is pretty good. He has some upside to him. He’s a versatile and intriguing player.”
The rest of the class
Silvano Altamirano – San Diego Mesa College, offensive lineman, 6-3, 290 pounds
Altamirano, a junior college transfer and one-time SMU commitment, has enrolled at College Park and will take part in spring practice. "He has the explosiveness, speed, pulling ability and toughness that we want from our offensive linemen,” Randy Edsall said in a news release.
Shane Cockerille – Gilman, quarterback, 6-2, 218 pounds
An Elite 11 selection, Cockerille committed to the Terps during last year’s Red-White game at Byrd Stadium. He led the Greyhounds to the MIAA A Conference championship. “Shane Cockerille is a good quarterback,” Huffman said. “That’s a big one for them. Michigan was recruiting him as a second quarterback.”
Jajuan Dulaney – McEachern (Ga.) High, offensive lineman, 6-4, 275 pounds
A consensus three-star prospect, Dulaney picked the Terps over offers from North Carolina, Cincinnati and East Carolina. He comes from the same high school as Maryland redshirt freshman wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo. “[Dulaney’s] going to have to get bigger, but he’s got good athleticism,” Shurburtt said.
Chandler Burkett – Bozeman High (Fla.), defensive end, 6-4, 225 pounds
Burkett switched his commitment from Florida International to the Terps shortly after FIU fired coach Mario Cristobal. “He’s got a big lower body, but can put on a lot of weight,” said Bozeman coach William Tillman. “I expect he’s going to play [somewhere between] 260 or 275. He’s still real skinny. He gets up there and gets on regular meals and all that stuff, he’s going to put on even more body weight and hopefully keep that speed.”
Jermaine Carter – Friendship Collegiate Academy, linebacker, 6-1, 220 pounds
Carter was the final FCA player to pledge to the Terps during this recruiting cycle, selecting Maryland over Colorado and Temple. “I think the guy that made a lot of plays when I saw him was Jermaine Carter,” Farrell said. “He’s not the tallest linebacker in the world, but he just made every tackle. A lot of people pay attention to Cavon Walker on that team, but I think Jermaine Carter was the heart and soul of that defense.”
Derrick Hayward – Wicomico, linebacker/defensive end, 6-5, 200 pounds
Analysts are intrigued by the potential of this two-star prospect from the Eastern Shore. Shurburtt said Hayward could be “the next Kenny Tate” for Maryland, while Huffman cited him as a definite sleeper. “Derrick Hayward is a defensive end with quickness,” he said. “He has a chance to get stronger. He probably won’t play right away. He’ll probably need to get a little bigger.”
Malik Jones – Dunbar, defensive end, 6-5, 245 pounds
Jones plans to play defensive end for the Terps, and he excelled at that position for the Class 1A state-champion Poets, recording 70 tackles and 18 sacks. Some analysts, however, think he could ultimately end up on the O-line. “I have a suspicion about Malik Jones as well,” Farrell said. “He could turn out to be much better than he’s ranked. He’s really raw but he’s as long as can be. He could be a 6-5, 285-pound kid.”
Kingsley Opara – Mandarin High (Fla.), defensive end, 6-4, 280 pounds
Opara was a self-proclaimed “soft commitment” ever since he pledged to the Terps last July. But he ultimately rebuffed overtures from North Carolina, N.C. State and Georgia Tech. The three-star prospect finished his senior season with 42 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
Cavon Walker – Friendship Collegiate Academy, linebacker, 6-2, 215 pounds
A three-star prospect, Walker missed his entire junior season with a fractured foot. He returned to FCA’s lineup in the fall and earned second-team Washington Post All-Met honors for his efforts. “He’s an extremely good pass rusher,” FCA coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim told The Sun in June. “He’s just got a level of intensity to him – he’s very intense. He keeps his game on a high level. I think he’s a very energetic kid.”
NOTES: Maryland is reportedly expecting decisions from three more prospects today – Avalon School athlete Jacquille Veii, Suitland wide receiver and Ohio State commitment Taivon Jacobs, and Friendship Collegiate linebacker Yannick Ngakoue. Stay tuned to Tracking the Terps for those decisions.