Al Hawkins may be too good a baseball pitcher for Maryland's football team.
Hawkins, one of the premier three-sport athletes in New Jersey, excels as a quarterback, shooting guard and baseball pitcher for Elizabeth High. The Terps could sign Hawkins to a letter of intent in football, but may end up losing him to baseball, depending upon where he is taken in the June draft.
The letter of intent signing period begins Feb. 7, and Maryland has received 17 oral commitments to date, but none from a quarterback. The school targeted three: Kevin Carty of Somerville, N.J., committed to North Carolina; Malik Campbell of Buffalo, N.Y., is supposed to visit College Park this weekend; and Hawkins has scheduled a visit for next week.
The recruiting schedule was disrupted by last week's severe weather. Hawkins' time is further eaten into by the fact that he's averaging 19 points for the Elizabeth basketball team, but his future lies elsewhere.
"No one is recruiting Al for basketball because they know he's going to play football and baseball," said Jerry Moore, the Elizabeth High football coach. "He's an unbelievable athlete.
"He was clocked at 94 mph on the fast gun for our baseball team last spring. There's no guarantee that he'll sign a pro baseball contract, even if he's drafted high. He's adamant about playing football and baseball for a couple of years. He'll only visit colleges that have already offered scholarships, and right now, Maryland is No. 1 on his list."
Moore said that Hawkins, 6 feet 2 and 220 pounds, also is considering Georgia, Oklahoma State, Rutgers and Florida State. His case is reminiscent of Josh Booty, the quarterback/shortstop who signed a letter of intent with LSU in 1994, but got a record signing bonus of $1.6 million from the Florida Marlins after being drafted in the first round.
With Dunbar's Tommy Polley committing to Florida State yesterday and Hammond cornerback Tim Spruill committed to Virginia, the Terps probably won't get any local players, but they did go to western Maryland for Mike Hull, a defensive lineman out of South Hagerstown High.
Two transfers from Nassau (N.Y.) Community College already have signed letters of intent and will be on campus when the spring semester begins Jan. 29.
Tight end Tim Brown became interested in the Terps when their off-season plans included a shift from the run-and-shoot to a pro-style offense. Brown (6-3, 245) will have the inside track at the position when spring practice opens in March. He caught 25 passes for Nassau, the nation's 10th-ranked junior college team, but excelled as a blocker in a ground-oriented attack.
Nassau has produced several Division I-A cornerbacks, and coach George Powers said that Marcus Patrick "is as good a cover guy as anyone we've had."
Depth and performance were down on Maryland's offensive line last year, and the Terps have oral commitments from four high school seniors there. Tim Howard of Middletown, N.J., visited two-time national champion Nebraska, and Vince Xanthos of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was recruited by Notre Dame.
The Terps have received one other commitment from a Floridian, Key West's Jason McCauley, who was the state's 4A Defensive Player of the Year.
Maryland remains in the running for running back Damone Boone, who was Offensive Player of the Year in the Washington, D.C., area while starring for West Springfield (Va.) High. He also is being recruited by Virginia Tech.
NOTE: The Terps' game at West Virginia has been moved from Sept. 28 to Sept. 26, a Thursday, to accommodate ESPN. Both teams will be playing on four days' rest. The change will give Maryland two Thursday night ESPN games next season. The Terps play Georgia Tech on Nov. 14 at Byrd Stadium.
Players committed to Maryland
Name .. ..Pos. .. Ht. ... Wt. .. Hometown/School
Tim Brown* TE 6-3 245 Nassau (N.Y.) CC
Dermal Brown TB 6-0 210 Marlboro, N.Y.
Omar Cheesboro WR 6-3 180 Montclair, N.J.
Sean Forte RB/WR 6-1 185 Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Tim Howard OL 6-5 285 Middletown, N.J.
Mike Hull DL 6-5 250 Hagerstown
Curtis Jones WR 6-4 190 Lancaster, Pa.
Jason McCauley DL 6-3 255 Key West, Fla.
Frank Mentzel FB 6-3 240 Clark, N.J.
Marcus Patrick* DB 6-0 180 Nassau (N.Y.) CC
Kenny Rogers RB 5-10 190 Brunswick, N.J.
Lewis Sanders DB 6-1 185 Staten Island, N.Y.
Sean Starner P 6-1 185 Cedar Cliff, Pa.
Ben Thomas OL/DL 6-3 280 Taylor, Pa.
Brett Trammell OL 6-5 315 Central Square, N.Y.
John Watkins LB 6-1 235 Perth Amboy, N.J.
Vince Xanthos OL 6-4 270 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 8 8TC Note: Brown and Patrick have signed letters of intent and will attend Maryland in the spring semester.