"Where do we go from here? The key is personnel, recruiting kids who can compete against teams we play, keeping them in school and graduating them. That's what we have to continue to build on."
-- Joe Krivak, Dec. 15, 1990
COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland football coach Joe Krivak uttered those words after the Terps' tie with Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. By tomorrow evening, he will know a lot more about the personnel he referred to that night.
The NCAA's period for signing national letters of intent starts tomorrow and runs through April 1. A combination of factors seem to have worked in the Terps' favor to make this perhaps their most bountiful recruiting session in years.
It started with the upset of Virginia in the regular-season finale that gave Maryland (6-5) its first winning season since 1985. That was followed by the bowl invitation, a new four-year contract for Krivak and the first visible evidence that Byrd Stadium was indeed getting a facelift.
"I don't know if you can tie it to any one of those things," Krivak said. "It's probably a combination of all of them. But there's no question the response to us has been greater. There's been an atmosphere of greater acceptance and interest."
NCAA rules prohibit Krivak from talking about specific recruits until they have actually signed. But judging by some of the high school hotshots who have committed orally to Maryland, the Terps will have a handsome crop.
The list is headed by Randallstown High's Larry Washington, one of the nation's most coveted running backs. Other blue-chippers include Wilde Lake running back Raphael Wall, quarterbacks Ted Marchese of Dunmore, Pa., and Scott Milanovich of Butler, Pa., and kicker David DeArmas of DeMatha, brother of current Terps kicker Dan DeArmas.
Maryland also has oral commitments from tight end Kevin Washington of Dunbar High, offensive lineman Madison Bradley of Buffalo, receiver Mike Gillespie of Silver Spring, linebacker Tom Jerome of Valley Forge, Pa., and quarterbacks John Kaleo of Bowie and Greg Lister of Pine Beach, N.J.
In addition, the Terps are in the running for Perry Hall running back Roy Marsh and Poly defensive back Antwaine Smith.
Krivak found that recruits and their parents were as aware of his new contract status as others were a year ago when he had only one year remaining on his old contract. It worked in his favor.
"The stadium renovation was also a factor," Krivak said. "We used to have to say the work was going to be done; now it's being done. It was a plus, a big thing to some people and less important to others."