Notes from Friedgen's news conference

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was in good spirits Wednesday as he unveiled the Terps' 2010 recruiting class during a news conference at the Gossett Football Team House.

Friedgen spoke at length about a class filled with "athleticism and character," and a group rated 37th in the country by Rivals.com. Check out our staff story on Maryland's Signing Day event here.


• Even though Maryland lost Chris Turner to graduation, the Terps could have their deepest group of quarterbacks in two decades. Tyler Smith and Devin Burns will be true freshmen, Danny O'Brien and C.J. Brown will be redshirt freshmen, and Jamarr Robinson and Miami (OH) transfer Clay Belton are both juniors. The Terps haven't had such good depth at the position since the days of Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich, Stan Gelbaugh and Scott Zolak, Friedgen said. Robinson is the early frontrunner after some promising moments late last season. The opportunity for Robinson to play as a sophomore was "a blessing in disguise." Belton, meanwhile, was Maryland's offensive scout team player of the year. "I've been really pleased with Clay Belton," Friedgen said.

• In Friedgen's opinion, the strongest part of Maryland's team just got a little bit better. The Terps signed three highly touted linebackers — David Mackall, Lorne Goree, Javarie Johnson — that will join an already deep group that returns Alex Wujciak, Demetrius Hartsfield, Adrian Moten, Darin Drakeford and Avery Murray, among others. Thanks to post-grad seasons at Fork Union, Goree and Mackall are "more like sophomores coming in than true freshmen," Friedgen said.


• Credit Maryland's successful return into the world of Florida high school football recruiting to Terps defensive coordinator Don Brown. The former UMass head coach had strong relationships with high school coaches in the area dating back to his days with the Minutemen. Friedgen said it takes three to four years for college coaches to familiarize themselves with the local coaches and have a chance to "get on the real good kids."

• A drama-free Signing Day for Maryland did include one surprise. Will Yeatman, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound attackman for the Terps lacrosse team, will come out for football next fall. Yeatman was rated a three-star prospect and the No. 39 tight end nationally by Rivals.com in 2006. He signed with Notre Dame, redshirted his freshman year and caught eight passes for 43 yards over the next two seasons. Yeatman then transferred to Maryland and contributed 13 goals and 15 assists for UM's 2009 lacrosse team.

Brief comments from Friedgen on each of Maryland's 21 recruits

On Devin Burns — The Maryland staff was worried when the entire Georgia coaching staff paid Burns and his family an in-home visit late in the recruiting process. Needless to say, Burns' refusal to back out of his commitment and switch to his hometown school has endeared him to Friedgen. An "athletic quarterback with a good arm," Burns has already enrolled at Maryland. He comes from a military family and his father was recently stationed in Norfolk, Va., making family trips to College Park a little more manageable.

On Lorne Goree — The C.H. Flowers grad, who has enrolled at UM, will play outside linebacker for the Terps. A post-grad season at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia "helped mature him as a person and player." Friedgen said Goree shouldn't have much trouble getting "a lot bigger and stronger" after some time in Maryland's strength and conditioning program.

On Javarie Johnson — "He's a kid I fell in love with last year," Friedgen said of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker. He was disappointed when Johnson committed to Miami and ecstatic when he decided to switch his commitment to Maryland last month. "He kind of lightens up the room" with his "wonderful personality," Friedgen said. Another early enrollee, Johnson will likely make an immediate contribution.

On David Mackall — The former Edmondson standout now checks in at 6-3, 256 pounds after a post-grad season at Fork Union. Friedgen called Mackall "a seasoned guy" and someone the Terps are "hoping can come in and help us next year."

On Tyrek Cheeseboro — Cheeseboro got good coaching at Milford Mill from Reggie White, who played for Friedgen on the San Diego Chargers. Friedgen noted that Cheeseboro had a very good junior year "when he had a guy who could throw to him." His numbers were down a bit as a result of the change in quarterback, but Friedgen said he's excited to put Cheeseboro's speed to use.

On Nate Clarke — A two-way starter for Archbishop Carroll (D.C.), Clarke will start his Terps career on the offensive line. "He's a lean 280" and has only played three years of football, Friedgen said. Clarke wins the award for shortest distance from his home to the Maryland campus. "He could probably walk to campus," Friedgen said of the College Park native.

On Sal Conaboy — The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder was "one of the better offensive linemen in the state of Pennsylvania," Friedgen said. "We'd love him to be a center." Conaboy's father, Conan, is a nurse and was helping people in Haiti when Friedgen came to his house for a visit. "It's a very giving family."


On Ian Evans — Landing the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end "was a very good get for us," Friedgen said. When you find a prospect that can run, is a good student and can play defensive end, "it's a no-brainer" to recruit him, Friedgen said.


On Max Garcia — Friedgen cited Garcia as Maryland's "toughest get" of the 2010 class. "Alabama was strong with him early," but eventually it came down to Maryland and Clemson. One advantage for the Terps over the Tigers was a particular academic program. "He's very passionate about being a journalist, and I still recruited him, if you can believe that," Friedgen said with a laugh.


On Jeremiah Johnson — The Maryland staff saw Johnson in a 7-on-7 event last spring and were "impressed with his coverage skills." The 5-foot-11, 158-pound cornerback needs to get bigger and stronger. Friedgen said Johnson reminds him of former Terps standout and current Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth at this stage in his development.

On Desmond Kearse — When Friedgen visited Kearse's Fort Myers, Fla., home, Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse was there to lend support to his younger cousin. For comparison's sake, Friedgen noted that Jevon Kearse was 190 pounds as a high school senior and Desmond Kearse checks in at 180. "He's not real big," Friedgen said. "... but he's extremely quick off the ball."

On Darius Kilgo — The father of Kilgo's high school coach was on the Citadel staff with Terps defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo many years ago. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder could play on either side of the ball, but Friedgen said Maryland will "start him out on defense and ... go from there."

On Andre Monroe — Friedgen raved about Monroe's explosiveness and speed. The 6-foot, 280-pound defensive tackle "runs extremely well" for a kid his size. The St. John's (D.C.) product lists Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney as his favorite NFL player, and Friedgen said "he can see why there would be an association there."

On Rahsaan Moore — The Terps started recruiting Moore late in the process, and initially had him pegged for defensive line. Then Friedgen saw the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder play fullback. Moore proved to be a "dominant blocker" who could catch the ball and had good athleticism. "He may grow into a defensive end," Friedgen said, but Moore will begin his Terps career with the backs.

On Clarence Murphy — The Hollywood Hills (Fla.) standout led his county in sacks as a senior. "We're hoping he can be an edge rusher for us," Friedgen said.

On Matt Robinson — Robinson made plays at wide receiver and safety when Maryland saw the Atholton standout at a 7-on-7 event last summer. With "tremendous ball skills," Robinson could eventually end up at H-back, but for now is slotted at safety.

On Mario Rowson — "[Rowson is] exactly what I've been looking for in a defensive corner," Friedgen said. The Norfolk, Va., native impressed the Terps' staff at a one-day camp over the summer. Rowson is a guy Friedgen hopes "can get in the mix early next year."

On Tyler Smith — Smith is "a mobile quarterback with a very strong arm." Serving as a team captain in the Team USA vs. The World game last weekend, Smith impressed Friedgen with his "poise, command and control of the offense."

On Titus Till — Friedgen was happy to land "an excellent tackler ... good cover guy and also a very good student" in Till. Several schools tried to recruit the 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety, but Till has been happily committed to the Terps for more than a year.

On Jake Wheeler — A 6-foot-9, 250-pound left tackle, Wheeler is one of 10 children. Friedgen was worried when Wheeler's official visit to College Park took place during the record-breaking snowstorm in December. The south Florida native and his parents weren't phased by the blizzard — even though they were forced to rent a car and drive from BWI back to Miami after their flights were canceled. "We're very fortunate to have their family as part of our family," Friedgen said.

On Jeremiah Wilson — Wilson was "one of the better running backs in the state of Virginia" but will play cornerback at Maryland, Friedgen said. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder "runs very, very well."

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