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Flip of 4-star LB Jaishawn Barham highlights Maryland football’s early national signing day

It didn’t take long for Maryland football coach Mike Locksley to make a splash on National Signing Day.

Four days after committing to South Carolina, four-star St. Frances linebacker Jaishawn Barham signed with Maryland on Wednesday, bolstering the Terps’ 2022 class on the first day of the early signing period.

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It was the first of several big signings for Locksley, who added three four-star prospects Wednesday to punctuate a 20-player class that ranks 28th nationally and eighth in the Big Ten, according to the 247 Sports composite rankings. That includes four of the top 10 players from the state of Maryland, as well as four players from Florida and three from Virginia.

“A lot of hard work, pretty much a sleepless night,” Locksley said. “I can’t tell you that I had any idea that it would happen. None of our coaches could say that we knew this would happen. But as with all our recruiting, our coaches just continued to remain very diligent in selling the Maryland brand.”

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Barham, who started his high school career at DeMatha in Hyattsville before transferring to St. Frances, is ranked the third best player in Maryland and the No. 8 linebacker in the Class of 2022, according to 247 Sports.

Locksley also flipped three-star St. Frances offensive lineman Andre Roye Jr. from Penn State. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound prospect is the No. 65 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 16 player in the state of Maryland, per 247 Sports.

Locksley said they’ve recruited Roye and Barham for two to three years. Running backs coach Elijiah Brooks played a key role in recruiting Barham, as he knew the highly touted linebacker since the sixth grade and coached him when they were at DeMatha.

The addition of Barham bolsters a depleted Maryland linebacker corps, which lost leading tackler Chance Campbell to Ole Miss before the season and freshmen Branden Jennings and Terrence Lewis to the transfer portal after a win over Rutgers that made the Terps bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

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The Terps added eight players on defense and 12 on offense, including running back Ramon Brown, who picked the Terps after originally committing to Virginia Tech, and Paint Branch four-star athlete/wide receiver Octavian Smith Jr., who chose to stay in state at Maryland. Smith was previously committed to Northwestern before reopening his recruitment in September.

Even after Smith committed to Northwestern, Locksley continued to touch base with him.

“When he made the decision to decommit and open up his recruiting process, we’ve got a lot of people in that building that are huge Maryland fans and want to support us,” Locksley said. “He came and gave us a look. I got a chance to get his mom on the phone and talk to his dad and all the people that are important to him in his life.”

Since Locksley was hired in December 2018, the Terps have made big strides in recruiting. Locksley, a highly respected recruiter known for his connections in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, has secured three straight top-31 classes, including a notable flip of five-star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett from defending national champion LSU in 2020. Locksley also convinced former Alabama quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to transfer to Maryland before the 2020 season, leading to the junior quarterback breaking the Terps’ single-season record for passing yards this year as Maryland earned an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl against Virginia Tech on Dec. 29 at Yankee Stadium.

Nine players from the 2022 class — Barham, Roye, linebackers Andrew Booker and Caleb Wheatland, safety Gavin Gibson, offensive linemen Keon Kindred, Maximus McCree and Ja’Kavion Nonar and quarterback Jayden Sauray — will enroll early and participate in spring practice.

The early signing period extends until Friday and the remainder of Maryland’s 2022 signing class will be announced Feb. 2.

“When you look at this class as a whole, and I think I’ve said this to each one of these guys, I really do see this class being kind of the DNA of the player-driven culture that we’re working to create here,” Locksley said.

Maryland football Class of 2022

Jaishawn Barham, LB, 4-stars, Baltimore (St. Frances)

Shaleak Knotts, WR, 4-stars, Monroe, N.C. (Monroe)

Ramon Brown, RB, 4-stars, Midlothian, Va. (Manchester)

Octavian Smith Jr., ATH, 4-stars, Burtonsville (Paint Branch)

Preston Howard, ATH, 3-stars, Owings Mills (McDonogh)

Andre Roye Jr., OL, 3-stars, District Heights (St. Frances)

Jayden Sauray, QB, 3-stars, Upper Marlboro (Wise)

Daniel Owens, DL, 3-stars, Towson (Calvert Hall)

Perry Fisher, ATH, 3-stars, Tallahassee, Fla. (Lincoln)

Leon Haughton Jr., WR, 3-stars, Richmond, Va. (Benedictine)

Caleb Wheatland, LB, 3-stars, Chantilly, Va. (Westfield)

Gavin Gibson, S, 3-stars, Cornelius, N.C. (William Amos Hough)

Kellan Wyatt, LB, 3-stars, Severn (Archbishop Spalding)

Lionell Whitaker, CB, 3-stars, Tallahassee, Fla. (James Rickards)

Coltin Deery, IOL, 3-stars, Malvern, Pa. (Malvern Prep)

Ja’Kavion Nonar, OT, 3-stars, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Glades Central)

Lavain Scruggs, ATH, 3-stars, Severn (Archbishop Spalding)

Keon Kindred, OT, 3-stars, Belle Glade, Fla. (Glades Central)

Andrew “Bam” Booker, LB, 3-stars, Cincinnati, Ohio (Winton Woods)

Maximus McCree, OT, 3-stars, Grandview, Mo. (Iowa Central C.C.)

Pinstripe Bowl

MARYLAND VS. VIRGINIA TECH

Dec. 29, 2:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN Radio: 105.7 FM

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