Signs are pointing up for Terps


The national letter of intent period begins today and, other than a change of mind by junior-college safety Jermaine Smith, Maryland isn't anticipating any surprises from the 23 other players who have orally committed to play for the Terps.

It's a group that is rated among the top 25 to 30 recruiting classes in the nation.

Maryland had received oral commitments from 24 players, including Smith, but the 6-foot-3, 220-pound player from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; reportedly will sign with East Carolina instead.

"Jermaine told me yesterday [Monday] that he's going to sign with East Carolina," said Mike Loyd, the coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.; "I think the thing that swayed Jermaine is that East Carolina is 30 minutes from his home [Enid, N.C.]."

The Terps still expect to sign Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; cornerback Jonathon Johnson, whose brother, Andreal, started in the Maryland secondary as a freshman last season. The other four junior college transfers Maryland expects to sign also are defensive players, who presumably can bring immediate help to a unit that set an NCAA record for most yardage allowed.

Maryland has received commitments from 15 high school seniors who played last season, three 1992 signees will be re-signing and it's doubtful that the recruiting process will be completed today.

The Terps still are in the running for Aaron Brooks, a 6-4, 175-pound quarterback from Newport News, Va., but Tommy Reamon, his coach at Ferguson High, said Brooks won't decide from among Maryland, Virginia and Missouri until next week. Virginia is expected to sign another quarterback from Roanoke, which could have an impact on Brooks' decision.

The Terps' high school signings will include Troy Fowlkes, a linebacker from North County who was The Baltimore Sun's Defensive Player of the Year.

Maryland was among the finalists for The Baltimore Sun's Offensive Player of the Year, but Poly's Greg Kyler instead will sign with Tennessee.

Kyler rushed for 1,390 yards and 29 touchdowns for the area's No. 1 team, was recruited as a wide receiver, but also could play defensive back. City wide receiver Dwight Banks, the other top prospect from Baltimore, is committed to Penn State.

Elsewhere around the area, players who are waiting to see if they'll be eligible as freshmen have committed to Tennessee and Rutgers. Severna Park's Ron Green, a top defensive line prospect, is headed to Tennessee, while linebacker Lamar King of Chesapeake in Baltimore County is expected to sign with Rutgers.

Towson linebacker Dan Ross also is headed to a Division I-A program, as he'll sign with Kent State of the Mid-American Conference. Two first-team All-Metros will attend I-AA programs, C. Milton Wright offensive tackle Mike Sprouse and Howard running back Guy Smith will go to James Madison and Delaware State, respectively.

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