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Fla. CB Makinton Dorleant discusses UM pledge

At around the midway point of Makinton Dorleant's sophomore season, Dave Miller had seen enough.

The head football coach at Lely High in Naples, Fla., thought Dorleant had the potential to earn a Division I scholarship. But Miller knew that wouldn't happen unless his promising young cornerback started "doing things the right way all the time."

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"I became lazy – lazy in the classroom," Dorleant said Tuesday. "And Coach Miller, who's like a father to me, he came into my life. … He came in and changed it around. He made me sit in a room, [and we] had a talk. … He just laid everything out. He said, 'You can go [play college football] somewhere.' I went home and told my mom, 'I can go somewhere' and not just be working at McDonald's for the next four years. That wouldn't be a benefit to my mom at all."

After that talk, academics became a priority, and Dorleant's off-the-field preparation for football improved dramatically as well. That turning point in Dorleant's high-school career eventually led to scholarship offers from Florida International, Iowa State, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. After a weekend visit to College Park, Dorleant decided on the Terps."I love that place," said Dorleant, who was hosted on his official visit by freshman defensive back Mario Rowson. "It's the guys, the teammates I'm going to play with the next four or five years. Those guys, they treated me like I'm their little brother. They were taking me out, showing me stuff. It felt like a home away from home."

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Dorleant committed to Wisconsin in late July but had a "mutual" parting of ways with the Big Ten program earlier this month. Several BCS-level programs immediately reached out to the 5-foot-11 ½, 170-pound senior, but the first call he made was to Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown.

"He was there from Day One with my first offer," Dorleant said. "He's my position coach as well. There's always been a bond. I know there's a bond with me and Coach Brown. He stuck with me through everything. I really liked him and that [helped make] my decision final and firm."

Miller said Dorleant has "grown into a mature young man" off the field, and developed into a shutdown corner on it. A three-star prospect and the No. 60 cornerback prospect nationally according to Rivals.com, Dorleant possesses most of the tools college programs look for in a defensive back.

"He's very athletic, very quick and can make the spectacular play," Miller said. "I think he'll probably end up being a corner at the University of Maryland. He's almost a lockdown guy, very athletic, and he can go against the No. 1 receiver. I don't know if he'll go in and compete [for playing time at cornerback] right away, but he can play special teams. He just has a knack for football."

Since Dorleant's conversation with Miller two years ago, his report cards have been filled with Bs and the occasional A. He's considering a major in business once he arrives next fall in College Park, equipped with a much-improved work ethic that led to this opportunity at Maryland.

"The hard work started to pay off. Now I thank God every day that he's blessed me," Dorleant said. "I thank my mom, thank Coach Miller, and thank Coach Brown for giving me a chance in life. I'm very humbled about that. … Now I can't wait until Signing Day to make it official and I'll be happy to be a Terp next fall."

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