The tweet was one of many sent out in the hour following Adam McLean's commitment to Maryland by current Terps players, Maryland commitments and Terps recruiting targets.

This one — from promising Maryland freshman outside linebacker and former Good Counsel standout Jesse Aniebonam — consisted of three words in all capital letters: "IT'S A MOVEMENT."


The Terps are in the process of building something potentially special.

Maryland has landed some of the top prospects from the state in recent years, such as wide receiver Stefon Diggs, offensive lineman Damian Prince and Aniebonam.

The Terps are now selling others, like McLean (Quince Orchard) and Good Counsel star junior outside linebacker Keandre Jones, on the idea of staying home and helping to build their hometown school into a national power.

"I'm not allowed to talk about any specific individuals when it comes to recruiting. But I'll say this, I think recruiting is going very well, not only for 2015 but also for 2016," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "The buzz around here locally is as high as it's ever been since I've been here."

These next two recruiting classes have the potential to be program-changers for the Terps, classes that are even more loaded than usual with talent from Maryland and Washington, D.C, especially the Class of 2016.

Fourteen local Class of 2016 players are ranked as four-star prospects by ESPN, including blue-chip Bullis quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

There are also highly-ranked local players in the Class of 2015 that remain uncommitted, such as Eleanor Roosevelt left tackle Isaiah Prince and Friendship Collegiate Academy offensive lineman Quarvez Boulware.

"If Maryland can keep that talent home, they can definitely win the Big Ten here shortly," Quince Orchard coach John Kelley said.

The Terps are off to a good start.

McLean, whom ESPN ranks as the top player from Maryland in the Class of 2015, decommitted from Penn State in November and chose the Terps over offers from Ole Miss and other top programs.

Rivals ranks Jones as the fifth-best outside linebacker and the 32nd-best prospect in the Class of 2016.

Maryland has also received an oral commitment from Class of 2016 DeMatha running back Lorenzo Harrison and appears to be very much in the mix with Haskins, Prince, Boulware and others.

After McLean announced his commitment on Dec. 4, Haskins tweeted, "Soo my boy [McLean] is a Terp. You thought it was a game lol. #TerpNation."

"Coach Edsall and the entire Maryland staff, they're doing a great job creating a buzz around the program and the school," DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks said of the Terps, who have also benefited in recruiting from the recent announcement of their plans to build an innovative indoor practice facility. "The announcement of the new facilities have all these kids going crazy, and it's an exciting time for Maryland football and the University of Maryland."


While the Terps blew a 25-point lead in falling to Rutgers on Nov. 29, Maryland completed its first regular season as a member of the Big Ten with a 7-5 record.

The Terps were 4-4 in conference play, finished third in the Big Ten's East Division and are set to play Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30.

Maryland is 14-11 over the last two seasons despite dealing with injuries to numerous key players, posting back-to-back winning seasons for just the third time since 1985.

"I'm pretty sure a lot of people wanted to see how they could compete their first year in the Big Ten," Brooks said. "And I don't know if many people gave them a fighting shot. They should have gone 8-4 this year, so I think they answered a lot of questions this season about whether they would be able to compete. So I think a lot of people feel like once they get more top guys from the area they can really take the program to new heights."

Landing McLean figures to help with that. McLean is well-connected and respected around the area and has personal relationships with Haskins, Jones and other top prospects.

DeMatha star junior defensive end Shane Simmons cited McLean as a key factor when he verbally committed to Penn State during the summer, and Jones said he was influenced by McLean leading up to his commitment to Maryland on Dec. 1.

McLean, Jones and Harrison are all in constant contact with other local players — whether in person or through text messages or social media.

"All of those kids talk to each other," Kelley said. "I definitely think they're probably trying to get something together. Maryland had a really good recruiting class last year, and the year before they picked up some big in-state guys. So if they can keep that going, keep that momentum going and kind of band everyone together, that's going to push them into that upper echelon of the Big Ten."

Part of the appeal for recruits, Brooks said, is the opportunity to unite and elevate their hometown school to a level currently occupied by teams like Ohio State, which won the Big Ten and will be one of four teams playing in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

"Kids have left and gone to different places in the past, but many guys in the area feel that they can really make their mark at Maryland and really kind of pave their own way," Brooks said. "That intrigues a lot of them."

Should McLean sign with the Terps, it would mark the third time in the last four years that the team has signed ESPN's top-ranked player from Maryland.

The Terps also hope for the class to include Prince and Boulware, four-star prospects who both have offers from schools such as Alabama and Florida State.

Maryland will then look to fill out that 2016 recruiting class with players like Haskins, whom ESPN ranks as the second-best pocket passer in the junior class.

"I think they're now starting to get on a little bit of a roll with some of the top players in the state, something that's always been an uphill battle for Maryland, keeping some of those top guys," ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert said, later adding, "Successful recruiting always starts at home. … They have that advantage where the players are there. Now, it's just a matter of keeping those guys home."

Reach staff writer Matt Zenitz at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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