Maryland Football: Terps Reeling in Homegrown Talent

Brett GellmanCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2008

With the recent addition of Good Counsel’s stud running back Caleb Porzel, the Maryland Terrapins have been firing on all cylinders with their local recruiting. 


Out of the 14 commitments the Terps currently have on board for the 2009 class, eight of them are from Maryland.  


It has become a priority for Ralph Friedgen to keep in-state talent at the home school after programs such as Illinois and Penn State continually grazed the DC-Maryland-Virginia area due to the immense amount of talent available.


Illinois’ Mike Locksley, a former coach at Maryland, and Penn State’s Larry Johnson both have local ties to high schools in the DC region and have had significant success recruiting the area.  The Baltimore Sun even ran a piece about how the Lions were supposedly stocking up on all of Maryland’s talent.


This year, however, Maryland has made some significant strides in keeping some of the state’s best players at home in College Park.  


Dematha’s Kenny Tate, the final player to commit to the Terps last year, marked an important first step for Maryland recruiting, as Tate was recognized by recruiting services as one of the country’s top receivers.  The Terps beat out schools such as Illinois, Florida, and Penn State and were able to keep a local star at the home school.


This year has been even more successful as Maryland won a key recruiting battle after receiving the commitment of Forestville’s DeOnte Arnett.  Arnett, rated as the 11th-best strongside defensive end in the country by Rivals, chose the Terps over schools such as Ohio State and Georgia thanks in part to the recent addition of offensive coordinator James Franklin.


Terrapin fans have been excited by Franklin’s return to College Park since he’s known to be an excellent recruiter, but don’t overlook defensive coordinator Chris Cosh’s prowess either.  Cosh was not only responsible for signing Tate but received the recent commitment of Porzel as well.  


Porzel, who originally committed to Virginia but later reopened his recruitment, chose Maryland yesterday, securing the Terps an incredibly talented—and equally as important, local—running back.


Porzel even hinted that his friend Travis Hawkins, who was rated by Scout as the sixth-best cornerback in the country, could be coming to Maryland as well, according to an interview with TurtleSportsReport’s Jeff Ermann.  Should that be the case, the Terrapins would immediately have a Top 25 recruiting class.


Jelani Jenkins, one of the top linebacker prospects in the country (as well as Porzel’s teammate), is on Maryland’s wish list too.  A high school All-American who has received offers from essentially every top football program in the country, Jenkins would be a huge coup for the Terps, but fans will most likely have to wait until the fall to hear where Jenkins will wind up.


Running back Tavon Austin is another top target for the Maryland staff.  Despite Porzel’s commitment, the Terps would love to have the Baltimore product onboard.  Maryland likes to employ tandem running backs (Lattimore-Ball, Green-Scott), and the duo of Porzel-Austin would certainly be an exciting prospect.


With plenty of time left until Signing Day and a plethora of local talent still on the board, Maryland could be gearing up for one of its best recruiting classes since the Fridge came to College Park.