Much-sought running back Boone signs with Maryland D.C.-area star accents '96 recruiting successes


Parade All-American running back Damone Boone capped a solid recruiting season for the Maryland football program yesterday, becoming the 23rd player to sign a letter of intent with the Terps.

Boone, who rushed for 2,635 yards for West Springfield (Va.) High and was The Washington Post Offensive Player of the Year, finally announced yesterday that he would sign with Maryland over Virginia Tech. It was a decision he made Tuesday night.

"Damone was set on not going far from home," said Frank Creneti, the coach at West Springfield. "Early on, he told Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Washington and Nebraska to stop recruiting him. He's got quickness, speed, vision and cutting ability, and tremendous strength for a guy his size."

Boone, 5 feet 9 and 175 pounds, can bench-press 365 pounds, but there is another number that has raised concern, his score on the Scholastic Assessment Test. He has yet to meet the score the NCAA requires for freshmen eligibility, but he will take the test again.

Even before the addition of Boone, Maryland was getting high grades for the offensive talent it had lined up. Despite the loss of another Parade All-American, Quinton Spotwood, to Syracuse, the Terps will be well-stocked at wide receiver.

Several recruiting experts rated Omar Cheeseboro, and not Spotwood, as the top wide receiver out of New Jersey. Another Maryland signee, Curtis Jones of Lancaster, Pa., has a twin brother, Cory, who's a freshman at Penn State. Shawn Forte was a quarterback in New York last year, but he'll play wide receiver or defensive back for the Terps.

Dermal Brown and Malik Campbell are the top-rated running back and quarterback in New York, respectively, and offensive linemen Tim Howard (New Jersey), Brett Trammell (New York) and Vincent Xantos (Florida) received All-America mention.

"Getting Campbell was a major coup," said Allen Wallace, the editor of Superprep, one of the national recruiting services. "Until Boone predicts academically, I've got Maryland's class fifth in the ACC, behind Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia. I'd rank their class anywhere from 25th to 35th nationally."

The signing period that began yesterday will run through April 1. Maryland coach Mark Duffner will offer comments on his recruits today.

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