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Recruiting rewind: Maryland

2/4/2010

It could have been a lot worse.

Instead, there is no shame in the recruiting class Maryland put together, despite its 2-10 finish in 2009. The Terps reeled in 19 players with an emphasis on defense, including four linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. They took a huge step in improving the play and depth up front, as half of the offensive signees were linemen. The staff also added two four-star players in quarterback Tyler Smith and defensive end/linebacker Javarie Johnson.

"I believe that this was the most challenging class, but for whatever reason it really worked out well,” said recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo. “We work hard every year. ... Did we have to work harder this year? We probably did. But when you are doing it, you don't realize that you work hard every year. There is no doubt it was more challenging coming off the season that we had. But then again, I think we surprised ourselves. We ended up having a really, really good group here."

The main thing the Terps did is add more speed and athleticism on defense, which should help as Maryland enters its second season under coordinator Don Brown, who is also the cornerbacks coach. Maryland will lose three key players in the secondary, so it was an area of focus in this class. Brown has been encouraged by what he has seen of defensive back Mario Rowson so far.

“He has tremendous length and he's a guy that can match up to big receivers,” Brown said. “He can play press. He can get his hands on them and cover two concepts, physical rerouting concepts, and he's a guy that can come back to the receivers. I'm challenging him to do that.”

The one good thing about not going to a bowl game? It gave coach Ralph Friedgen more time to concentrate on recruiting.

"I think tremendous credit goes to our coaches,” Friedgen said. “It's been a little different for me, given the fact that we didn't go to a bowl game this year, so I've been out there for the last six weeks. Our coaches are the people that go out and find the kids and evaluate the kids. I'm there at the end. It got better as it went along. Once we got going, it was just a matter of a lot of hard work by our staff. I think we were able to get a very good class together. "