WELCOME, NEW FRIENDS! It's an underlying tradition in most B1G bloggers to rely on stereotypes as the underlying theme of whatever we write about your team. With you, Maryland, I know nothing. I know you're not far from our beautiful nation's capital, that your coach survived coaching UConn for over a decade, and that some blaspheming Satan-worshipper sentenced you to a year of linebackers as quarterbacks not to long ago. This isn't Iowa where I can joke about how your slow safety just got juked out of his bed by his dog, nor is it Ohio State where I can mask my thinly veiled jealousy with underhanded implications about shady recruiting tactics. With all of that in mind, it's start to discover/create some new themes.
1. RANDY EDSALL IS PRETTY GOOD AT RECRUITING....2-3 REALLY GOOD DUDES A YEAR. Landing Stefon Diggs a few years ago was unheard of. Now, Edsall did it again with another local boy- MD OT Damian Prince. The solidly built lineman really could have gone anywhere he wanted- Alabama, Clemson, Florida, USC, Ohio State, Auburn, etc. Instead, he stayed close to home and maintain close ties with his family.
It should not be surprising that, with offers from the likes of Florida State and Alabama, he chose to remain in Prince George's County for college. Family is important, especially so, for Prince. His father died in Washington when he was growing up. He lost his great-grandfather to a car accident in high school. Remaining close to those who he still had, and to those who had stayed with him, was important.
There's a good chance Prince will provide a pretty solid bookend to one of last year's REALLY GOOD 2-3 DUDES, DC OT Derwin Gray, who had to reclassify as a 2014 kid after some academic issues. Neither have huge, NFL type-frames, but both are sufficiently athletic and talented to give Maryland one of the better tackle tandems in the B1G in a few years. There's a non-zero chance both will see playing time this year, but hopefully the Terrapins can slap redshirts on both and give them an extra year behind returning starters Michael Dunn and Ryan Doyle.
Continuing the line of exceptionally talented linemen to join the Terps was MD DE Jesse Aniebonam, The Army All-American End also chose Maryland over the likes of Clemson and Alabama. His Crystal Ball timeline is especially interesting to look at. It isn't often you see Saban get beat for a kid, especially by Maryland, so quickly and cleanly. Interestingly enough, it sounds like Maryland's move to the B1G played a fairly big role in Aniebonam's decision.
"That's a blessing to me to be able to compete against the best competition in the country [in the Big Ten] and to show out for my city and Maryland," Aniebonam said. "I'm going to keep working hard and keep doing everything I do to show the competition why we're the best out here in Maryland."
Guess you're welcome, Maryland bros. The athletic DE is raw, but should get the chance to contribute from day one, likely in a pass rushing capacity.
2. RANDY EDSALL GON' LOOK LOCAL FOR HIS QUARTERBACK. A year after taking MD QB Shane Cockerille in 2013 and a year before dipping into West Virginia for his 2015 signal caller, Edsall signed DC QB Will Ulmer. The explosive athlete will need to tighten his throwing motion up a bit at Maryland, but his speed and knack for playmaking should serve him well. At the very least, he should provide enough depth so the 2012 season never happens ever again.
To help him out, Edsall dug into New Jersey for WR Juwann Winfree. The 6'2 athlete doesn't stand out in any particular facet of his game, but he's well rounded enough to be a productive collegiate receiver. The one time "Rutgers lock" could be considered another fallout of the mediocre Scarlet Knights season- the Terps also did well to lure him away from Pitt.
3. RANDY EDSALL GON' RECRUIT LOTS OF DUDES NO ONE ELSE IS RECRUITING. This Maryland class is very top heavy. With a composite 5* tackle and three other 4* players in the class, it's might be a bit surprising for you to hear that the average Maryland commit is a 2.6 star prospect on Rivals. 11 of the 17 players that signed in February are given a Rivals rating lower than 5.5, which roughly means "barely better than a mid-major player". Recruiting rankings aren't perfect and everything, la-da-da, but when you go into the fourth quarter of a contested conference matchup, you don't want to be turning to guys who should probably be playing at Bowling Green. Star power's awesome, as long as you have a backup plan.
Overall, the big splashes are, in fact, big. Edsall is gradually rebranding Maryland amongst high schoolers in a very talented area of the nation. Championship teams need depth, but guys like Prince, Gray, Diggs, etc are a great start down that road. If Maryland can start to get bigger portions of the 3 star type talent from the area in addition to the high four/five stars, it could really be a program to watch out for.