Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen is about to land one of the best recruiting classes in school history, and as a result, he'll be in elite company Wednesday.
Friedgen will be one of four coaches to appear on ESPN on national signing day as a part of the network's coverage of the event, which begins at 4 p.m. The other three coaches scheduled to appear -- Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Southern California's Pete Carroll and Louisiana State's Nick Saban -- competed for a national championship this past season, and are expected to sign the top three recruiting classes for 2004.
"It's a nice thing to be mentioned with such traditional powers," said Friedgen, who has a 31-8 record during his three years at Maryland. "Certainly, anytime you can get on national television, it helps your exposure. It's just like playing in a Thursday night game, or in a New Year's game. The exposure the program gets is incredible."
Friedgen apparently received the invitation because Maryland is seen as a program making tremendous strides in recruiting, and because the Terps are beating out tradition-rich schools for big-time players for the first time.
Maryland currently has 22 oral commitments, and its projected 2004 freshman class is ranked just outside the top 10 by several recruiting services, including Rivals, Prepstars and the Insiders.
"I knew we were having a good year, but you just don't know with recruiting classes," Friedgen said. "Hopefully we'll land a few more kids we're looking at and finish out strong."
Though Friedgen, under NCAA rules, can't comment on a player until he signs a letter of intent, it is well known that Maryland is awaiting the decision of two Washington area athletes: defensive end Derrick Harvey of Eleanor Roosevelt and wide receiver Derrick McPhearson of DeMatha. Both are being heavily recruited by Florida, among other schools.
Harvey, considered by some to be one of the top 10 high school players in the country, will announce his decision Tuesday at 4 p.m. on ESPNEWS.