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Recruiting analyst: Edsall commands 'respect'

Bob Lichtenfels might not have completely understood Maryland's decision to dismiss Ralph Friedgen. But the Scout.com football recruiting analyst does think the Terps got it right by tabbing UConn's Randy Edsall as the veteran coach's replacement.

Lichtenfels, a Pennsylvania-based reporter, said Monday that Edsall is a "very straight-edge guy" who "doesn't BS" recruits. Lichtenfels likened Edsall's no-nonsense, motivating approach to that of a Fortune 500 CEO.

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"He delegates, but he's very hands-on," Lichtenfels said. "'This is how I want it done, this is how it's going to be.' He has full control over his program and what he wants his guys to say. He's probably one of the best coaches in the country for getting more with less. In this day and age, it's hard to be under the radar. But he takes kids that other schools don't know about, don't recruit and has them play for him. You have to show up to work."

Recruiting players to UConn – a program with no Football Bowl Subdivision history before Edsall and with a stadium 40 minutes away from campus – wasn't easy. Lichtenfels said Edsall had to rely on identifying local players early and unearthing unknown prospects with potential. "Randy will find a kid – say an, Aaron Hernandez – and then three months later, Urban Meyer's recruiting him," Lichtenfels said. "So now that he's at Maryland, it's a high-profile job. It's going to be a change for him. He's going to be in there with the big dogs in recruiting, with all the other big BCS schools. It's going to be interesting. He's a real straight edge and a lot of those assistants are grinders. Like [Huskies offensive coordinator] Joe Moorhead, he's one of the hardest-working guys in the industry. At Akron, he used to take kids from Pittsburgh, Penn State and West Virginia. He's a guy who goes out there and gets it."

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Lichtenfels said there's a "nice little buzz" surrounding the Terps with junior recruits at the Under Armour All-American Game combine in St. Petersburg, Fla. While Friedgen and his staff laid solid groundwork with younger prospects, it'll be up to Edsall and company to seal the deal. If Edsall has a chance at bettering Friedgen's success in College Park, Lichtenfels said he'll have to improve the Terps' in-state recruiting.

"Maryland struggled the last four or five years keeping the kids in state," Lichtenfels said. "If you can't keep kids in your state, nobody is going to deem you a success. Maryland has to be able to get the Good Counsel kids and the DeMatha kids. He has to get those kids. I think perception-wise, just make sure that in your own state, you're the team. … That was the biggest deficiency in the program – an inability to keep kids in state. Granted, a lot of those kids [that left the state] failed. But the perception when Penn State takes seven or 10 of those kids, that hurts. So that's definitely the first thing Randy has to do. He's got to win the coaches over in Maryland."

Lichtenfels thinks Edsall's decision to leave Connecticut for Maryland was probably due in part to the strength of the ACC versus the Big East. The opportunity to compete for conference championships is there, but he's also walking in to a delicate situation by following Friedgen.

"It's always a gamble," Lichtenfels said. "I think Friedgen was an underrated coach for what he did at Maryland. When I talk to a lot of college coaches or high school coaches, they look at what he did [and say] 'what are the expectations at Maryland that this guy was a failure?' So it's a tough spot for Randy because if Randy gets them next year to 6-6 or 7-5, people are going to say, 'why did we get rid of the guy we had?'"

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