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Maryland football recruits looking forward to official visit with DJ Durkin

For South Carroll's Brian Plummer, Maryland's hiring of DJ Durkin as its coach provided him a sigh of relief. The senior, who verbally committed to the Terps in April, had been watching what was happening in College Park closely after former coach Randy Edsall was fired and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over in the interim role for the final six games of the season. He watched the rumor mill churn before Durkin was introduced last week.

Plummer said he wasn't losing sleep over Maryland's coaching search and his commitment to the school never wavered, but he still wanted to know who he would be signing to play for in February. Now he knows, and this weekend, he'll get the chance to meet with Durkin and the other members of Maryland's 2016 recruiting class on his official visit.

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"I'm very excited. I just hope I make a good first impression," Plummer said with a laugh last week. "He seems like a very down to earth, good guy. Hopefully when I meet him for the first time, everything goes well."

Plummer, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle who is rated a three-star prospect by 247sports, said he's impressed by Durkin's track record of working with successful coaches such as Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State's Urban Meyer. But he also recognizes that Durkin has his own personality and won't try to imitate his mentors.

"Just having a guy like Coach Durkin with all of his background and just the kind of person he seems like, I'm excited," Plummer said. "I watched his press conference, and he was happy the whole time. He seemed genuinely excited to start coaching here."

Clear Spring's Joey Fisher, a three-star defensive end who also verbally committed in April, said he was impressed with Durkin's "fiery" personality, which he said reminded him of Maryland assistant Chad Wilt, who was his primary recruiter. Fisher said he never questioned his commitment to the Terps during the coaching search and said he was committed more to the school than any particular coach.

Fisher was born in Laurel and spent much of his childhood in Beltsville before he moved to Clear Spring, so he jumped at the chance to commit to his hometown school.

For other members of Maryland's recruiting class, though, things are less certain. Blue chip quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a four-star recruit from Bullis, reportedly received an offer from South Carolina on Thursday, and ESPN.com reported that he'll visit Ohio State this weekend. Other recruits are reportedly waiting to see what happens with the rest of Durkin's staff — mainly what happens with Locksley, who is the top recruiter for some Washington-area prospects, and how the offensive staff comes together — before making final decisions.

Regardless of potential additions to the class and decommitments, Fisher said there's already a certain camaraderie between the players, which could play a significant role in the program's future.

"It's kind of like we're already teammates," Fisher said. "We have that bond of always saying what's up to each other, how's it been, how have the games been going for you guys. We always have small talk. That's great for us not even playing yet. We already have that strong kind of team chemistry within the '16 recruiting class."

This weekend could go a long way to swaying those on the fence that Maryland is the right destination in the future and to solidifying other players' loyalty to the program despite the uncertain times. And Plummer thinks the corner has been turned in College Park, with things starting become more clear.

"I do know that I'm going there," Plummer said. "Right now I think the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together in a way. The new head coach is coming in. Things are going to become more organized, hopefully a little less stressful. And then probably before signing day, everything's going to be all straightened out, ready for the next season."

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