Commentary

Maryland more than just flashy unis

Terps show recruits there is plenty of substance to go with the style

Originally Published: October 6, 2011
By Dave Hooker | ESPN Recruiting

Despite the flash, Lee Hull maintains there is plenty of substance at Maryland.

"When they come here, we're going to do things the right way," the Terrapins' receivers coach said of prospective student-athletes. "We're not going to cut corners. We're not going to do that in recruiting. Everything that we do, we're going to be up-front and honest with the recruits. ... I think a lot of the recruits are seeing what we're all about.

"We're all about substance. We're not about flash."

From afar, that didn't necessarily seem the case for a program that got as much publicity for its spiffy, new Under Armour uniforms as it did its play on the field.

For Hull, however, the uniforms are only part of the appeal of Maryland. He maintains that prospects have noted much more about the rebuilding effort under coach Randy Edsall, who was hired away from Connecticut during the offseason.

"We have great coaches here, guys that have coached in the (National Football) League," Hull said. "Guys that have been the best in their field. The knowledge base is great. The recruits and the players here can tell you that we have a great staff. They treat the kids well. I think what we're trying to sell is when you come here, we're going to do things the right way."

The right way to recruit for Edsall's Terrapins means locking down the state's borders as well as successfully wooing prospects from nearby Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The debut of Maryland's "pride" uniforms against Miami in the season opener centered around that theme by incorporating that colors in the state flag. Did it clash? Perhaps, but Maryland prospects took note.

"There's a lot of talent here," Hull said. "Our goal recruiting is to keep the in-state players in state at Maryland. The players that we feel through our evaluation that can help us win an ACC title and a national championship, those are the kids that we want those guys to stay home and not go other places and play."

Hull continues to be impressed by the talent in the area. At two other coaching stops at Holy Cross and Oregon State, he has recruited hotbeds like Los Angeles and New Jersey. Yet the areas close to Maryland's campus in College Park stack up quite nicely. That, however, means more competition from other colleges that are also targeting the same prospects.

"I think people are starting to understand that there is talent here in Maryland and the D.C. area," Hull said. "It's getting very competitive. With the Internet now and all the publications, they're starting to know about the kids here. Yeah, it is getting harder but we've just got to work hard. We've just got to outwork the other guys and keep those guys in state here."

Maryland has been well received by prospects in the area for the most part. Some occasionally feel slighted when they receive offers from other programs from across the country, but have to wait to get one from the Terps. Hull said he understands how offering local prospects later in the process can have an unwanted effect, but he and Edsall are determined to take their time in offering prospects for the benefit of the recruit and the school.

That means a patient process in which the recruiter responsible for the area recommends offering a prospect. Then that offer must be approved by the recruiting coordinator and then Edsall. Maryland's coaching staff also requires an entire game tape (not just a highlight tape) and an updated academic transcript.

"I don't think it hurts us once you explain how the process is and how we do it," Hull said. "It initially might hurt us a little bit but once you explain the process and how we do it, they understand. Coach Edsall's philosophy is we're not going to just throw offers out there just to get in the game.

"When we offer a kid, that's the kid we want. They know it's a firm offer and we won't pull back on that offer. ... It might take a little bit longer than some guys who are going to read publications and just throw an offer without without watching film or evaluation. We don't do that."

The recruiting won't stop at high school prospects. Maryland is incorporating a grassroots campaign that will include football camps for younger kids called "Little Terps".

No word yet if Under Armour will provide the uniforms.

Levenberry looking south

ESPNU Watch List linebacker E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) will visit Florida State on Oct. 22. He was recently offered a scholarship by nearby Maryland to bring his offer list to 16, but Levenberry seems likely to head South. If not, Oklahoma is also a strong possibility.

Under Armour selection tour continues

The official selection tour for the Under Armour All-America Game will continue at Maryville (Tenn.) High School on Thursday when the tour heads to Washington (D.C.) Friendship to officially name the nation's highest rated, undecided prospect to the game: five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, who is No. 2 in the ESPNU 150. Later that afternoon, the tour will stop in at Potomac (Md.) Oxon Hill to name Ronald Darby to the game. Darby is a four-star athlete who committed to Notre Dame last month. On Friday, Jonathan Taylor from Augusta (Ga.) Jenkins County will receive his jersey. Taylor is No. 46 in the ESPNU 150.

Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at davehookerespn@gmail.com.

Dave Hooker

Reporter, RecruitingNation