Terrapins fill in the blanks

COLLEGE PARK — COLLEGE PARK -- Regardless of how many stars are next to their names, the 25 recruits who signed letters of intent yesterday to play football for Maryland filled the vacancies coach Ralph Friedgen had on his roster and represent some inroads being made in areas outside the state.

Among the top recruits in this year's class is tight end Devonte Campbell, a highly sought-after Forestville native whose decision went "right down to the wire," according to recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo.


New Jersey wide receiver Tony Logan, who Friedgen said "comes out of cuts better than kids we have right now, and better than some of the pro athletes I've coached," was a major snag for the Terps.

Wide receiver Ronnie Tyler, who had committed to Georgia but switched to Maryland, is expected this fall after a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. Tight end Lansford Watson out of Brooklyn, N.Y., is another top prospect who likely will play at wide receiver.


"We're very happy with our class," Friedgen said. "I think we filled some needs for us. We pretty much recruited the East Coast. ... I really feel like our class is comprised of a bunch of kids who are willing to work hard and have goals in life to be successful not only on the football field, but in the classroom and also in life."

With the exception of Campbell and running back Haroon Brown of Hampton, Va., who Friedgen said "pulled the trigger" yesterday, many of Maryland's commitments were made before the Terrapins played in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29.

"Obviously we came off of two 5-6 seasons and for us to get that many verbal commitments as early as we got them, I would say it's lot of hard work by our coaching staff doing a lot of great convincing," Sollazzo said.

Offensive linemen were a major need and Maryland landed eight, including 6-foot-7, 285-pound Bruce Campbell, who was recruited last year but went to Hargrave Military for academic improvement. Maryland also recruited four defensive linemen, which was important because three of the Terps' linemen graduate this year.

"The old saying [that] it starts up front, I don't know if that will change 100 years from now," said Sollazzo, who is also the defensive line coach. "That will never change. We got some really good linemen on both sides of the ball this recruiting year."

Wide receiver was another point of emphasis; Maryland relied on three throughout the majority of last season. Friedgen said there are some wide receivers in this class who might be able to contribute immediately.

Maryland also added two fullbacks -- Taylor Watson and Brown -- plugging holes left by former starter Tim Cesa, who decided to pass up his senior season because of a series of concussions, and reserve Chris Gronkowski, who transferred after the 2006 season.

In a recruiting year in which talent inside the state was not in abundance, Maryland's coaching staff went elsewhere, including the Virginia Beach area --historically Virginia Tech's turf -- and New Jersey, which is increasing in competition with Rutgers.


Maryland's recruiting class was ranked 34th in the nation (eighth best in the Atlantic Coast Conference) by and No. 47 by

Maryland notes -- Three former Terps -- Stephon Heyer, Adam Podlesh and Josh Wilson -- will participate in the NFL combine this month in Indianapolis. ... Spring practice begins March 27, and the annual spring game is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 28 at Byrd Stadium.

Towson -- Eleven high school seniors, including five from Maryland, signed letters of intent with the Tigers. "With our extremely large senior class, these players will have to contribute sooner than our previous scholarship classes," said coach Gordy Combs, who will have a full complement of scholarships for Colonial Athletic Association play for the first time.

Morgan State -- The Bears announced the signing of 25 high school and junior college players and transfers. "We feel good about our signees," said coach Donald Hill-Eley. "We have addressed the vacancies that we have and we have also addressed our depth." Among the recruits are two standouts on Dunbar High's Class 1A state championship team, two-way back Maurice Portee and safety Kendall Jamison, as well as Sheldon Waller, a star at City.

Sun reporter Kent Baker contributed to this article.