Given the way Turgeon wants to play, getting a big man with some athleticism is also going to be part of the recruiting profile. Maryland has offered Top 20 prospect Goodluck Okonoboh, but will face stiff competition from Indiana, Syracuse and Duke.
Also on the list are power forward Chinanu Onuaku, who plays at Riverdale Baptist and plays on the same AAU team as Trimble and power forward Martin Geben, who plays at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown. Geben is from Lithuania and Len’s development after coming from the Ukraine won’t hurt Maryland’s chances.
I was a little surprised by Maryland’s interest in getting a commitment from Nickens so early, considering that his other schools were Oregon State, Wake Forest and Dayton. But Turgeon and his staff believe that like Jake Layman did two years ago, Nickens’ stock will go up during the summer between his junior and senior years.
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Considering the way Turgeon and his assistants have recruited since getting to College Park, I’d be shocked if they didn’t get one of the big men they are targeting. With the expected development of rising sophomores Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, as well as incoming freshman Damonte Dodd, the Terps should have a pretty good rotation inside once they hit the more rugged Big Ten.
Maryland landed a commitment last weekend from Ohio tight end Andrew Gray. What can be expected from him, and does his pledge signal a shift to the Midwest for the Terps?
Matt Bracken: The offer sheet for Andrew Gray -- Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Louisville -- doesn't really stand out. Nor do his rankings -- a two- or three-star prospect -- from the four major recruiting services. But Scout.com's Bill Greene, who has evaluated Ohio prospects for 12 years, has a simple explanation for the uninspiring ratings for Maryland's newest commitment.
"It's hard to rank him high for what we do. I've never seen him catch the football," Greene said Thursday. "If he had 60 catches for 800 yards, it would be different. I like him a lot. He probably could play defensive end in a 4-3 set, but i think he'll be a tight end at the next level. He will definitely be an asset in the blocking game, for sure. He's got that part down, for sure. You're not going to have to worry about teaching him how to block or play a physical type of football. Those things are a given. If there's a question mark, it's pass catching because they just don't do that. ... He's a pure football player."
Gray's Chardon High squad, Greene said, is "just a real physical, nasty, hard-nosed Ohio football team. It's old-school football, not spread, not pretty. They look to beat people up -- that's the way his kid plays. He fits the personality of what Chardon wants to do. They run the ball every play, every single play."
Listed at 6-4, 215 pounds, Gray doesn't appear to be one of those high school tight ends that is slated for a move to offensive tackle in college. Greene believes Gray is a college tight end all the way, and he doesn't expect the future Terp to have major issues developing into more of a pass catcher.
"He's just a great football player," Greene said. "He's big and he's fast and he's tough. And he's very athletic. He's just an old-school football player, that's the way I would describe him. He plays hard every single play. You have to see Chardon play to really appreciate it. He's the best player on one of the most physical teams you'll ever see. He plays football the way football is meant to be played. I love the kid."
Gray could be the first of many Midwest prospects Maryland lands as it transitions to the Big Ten in 2014. Ohio State typically has its pick of players in the state, while Michigan and Notre Dame also routinely land significant prospects there, Greene said. More recently, Kentucky has ventured north of its border into Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo to land eight Ohio players for 2014.
But with between 150-175 Division I prospects from the Buckeye state every year, Greene believes other BCS-conference schools would be wise to adopt Kentucky's strategy. Could Maryland be one of those programs?
"Absolutely," Greene said. "It makes a lot of sense to me. This may signal a shift to come this way to recruit. It can be done. I think Maryland will have a very good reception. I would think Ohio kids will look at Maryland as a desireable place."