COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland apparently will keep looking for a kicker in Florida until it gets it right.
The recruiting class that signed with Maryland last February was the first that coach Mark Duffner had a full year to work on, and the centerpiece was Lonny Calicchio, a junior-college All-American who had prepped in Florida.
The Terps' plans for 1993 began to unravel in August, when Calicchio brought in a transcript with some questionable credits. He was ruled ineligible, and a week later Maryland began the kicking woes that have contributed to a 1-9 record.
Now comes word that two of the top high school kickers in Florida -- and in the nation -- are considering Maryland. Brent Lockliear, who hit a 43-yarder for Pasco High, has shown interest, and Bret Scheuplein has lined up a recruiting visit.
Scheuplein, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder from Coral Springs High, near Fort Lauderdale, hit a 50-yard field goal, made 24 of 26 extra-point attempts and had better than a 40-yard punting average this season. Besides Maryland, Scheuplein is planning to visit Illinois, Colorado and possibly Nebraska.
The renewed search for a kicker heads the Terps' recruiting effort, the needs of which are many in light of their status heading into Saturday's finale at Wake Forest. As they try to dig out from their seventh non-winning season in the past eight, Duffner knows that improving and broadening their talent base is imperative if the Terps are to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
There are only 11 seniors at Maryland -- seven will be in uniform at Wake Forest -- but the Terps' numbers are down, and they could have as few as 60 scholarship players for spring practice. Duffner expects to bring in approximately 20 scholarship players, and he needs another return like this year's class, which included a dozen who have played this year.
"We're looking at athletes everywhere," Duffner said, "but the real focus is on defense, and getting a top-quality kicker. That has certainly plagued us all year."
Maryland had been on the early list of Louisianian Wade Ritchie, considered the nation's top kicking prospect, but didn't make the cut that will see him visit LSU, Notre Dame, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Pitt.
The Terps' only field goal of the season came Sept. 18 against West Virginia. The kicking deficiencies, however, don't diminish their needs on defense, where they're on the verge of setting an NCAA record for yards allowed in a season.
The loss of three seniors to injury forced Maryland to use three true freshmen on the defensive line, and it would have been four had Richard Abrams been eligible. Abrams returned to Arundel High for a semester to pick up some core courses required for freshman eligibility, and he'll sign with the Terps again.
Maryland is also on the short list for four of the area's premier seniors.
Two of the best linebackers in the region are North County's Troy Fowlkes (6-1, 235) and Lamar King (6-4, 240) of Chesapeake-Baltimore County. Fowlkes is leaning toward Maryland, but he'll also visit Syracuse, Boston College and Penn State, and possibly Pitt. King also is talking to Boston College, Pitt, Georgia Tech and Syracuse.
Because of its run-and-shoot offense, Maryland has an interest in two pass-catching prospects, Poly's Greg Kyler (6-1, 180) and City's Dwight Banks (6-1, 185).
Kyler, whose current focus is the state 3A tournament, will visit Maryland, but Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are among the others he might check out. Banks also will visit Penn State, Michigan, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
According to the Terrapin Times, Maryland is high on the list of several prospects from the Washington suburbs, including Rockville wide receiver Bill Powell, Riverdale Baptist running back Shawn Gary and Seneca Valley linebacker Aaron Moxley, but the bulk of Maryland's efforts are made out of state.
After successfully getting players from Florida and Georgia, the Terps are looking to extend their reach into Louisiana and Texas. Junior colleges are another source of players, and Maryland is looking at defensive linemen from a pair of New York teams, unbeaten Nassau, which will play in a postseason game, and Hudson Valley.
Hudson Valley end Ashley Sims (6-4, 235) and tackle Mike Butler (6-4, 270) will visit Maryland. Eligible to transfer at the semester break and participate in spring practice, Butler is among the junior-college players who can sign a letter of intent in December.
The signing period for high school players and junior-college transfers who need another semester begins Feb. 2. Prospective athletes are limited to five official visits, and a college can bring in a maximum of 70 players.
Running back Chaney Milner and defensive lineman Cornelius White signed with Maryland last February as high school seniors, but stayed home to recuperate from injuries. Duffner said they'll enter Maryland for the second semester and participate in spring practice.