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Terps sign highest-rated class in program history

Maryland Athletic Communications Press Release

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland Head Coach DJ Durkin announced that 28 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to play football with the Terrapins on Wednesday. Maryland’s class is ranked among the Top 20 classes in the nation across all recruiting outlets and ranks among the best in program history.

The class includes 11 four-star signees and five members of the ESPN300, the most ever in one year for the Terps.

The 28 student-athletes hail from 10 different states and the District of Columbia. The signing class is highlighted by 17 players who attended high school in the DMV area and eight players who earned All-WCAC honors.

Nine of the top 20 players from the state of Maryland and three of the top nine players from Washington D.C. (per Rivals) signed with the Terps.

Seven players – Fofie Bazzie (DB), Markquese Bell (DB), Bryce Brand (LB), Tyran Hunt (OL), Deon Jones (CB), Nick Underwood (LB) and Alex Woods (DB) – are already attending classes at the University and will be able to participate in spring practices.

2017 Maryland Football Signees

Fofie Bazzie — Defensive Back — 5-11, 180 — Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Maryland Football Team … 2016 First Team Washington Post All-Metro … caught 17 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns as a wide receiver in 2016 … coached by John Kelley.

Defensive Backs Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Bazzie:
“Fofie is ultra-competitive. He’s a versatile athlete that has played corner, nickel and some safety. He’s an aggressive player with ball skills. He even played some wide receiver and made big plays when he got his hands on the football.”

Markquese Bell — Defensive Back — 6-2, 194 — Bridgeton, N.J. (Bridgeton HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 4-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … ranked No. 88 in the ESPN300 … played in the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game as a member of Team Highlight … two-time all-state selection … 2015 South Jersey Times Offensive Player of the year … 2016 American Family Insurance/USA Today All-USA New Jersey First Team … totaled 76 tackles, two interceptions three pass defenses and forced a fumble as a senior … rushed for 885 yards and seven touchdowns, mostly as a quarterback, as a senior … played wide receiver as a junior and caught 52 passes for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing for 191 yards and a score … caught six two-point conversions during that season … played quarterback as a sophomore and threw for over 700 yards … also played basketball and ran track in high school … jumped 6-10 to win the high jump at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions … jumped seven-feet to win the high jump at the Cape-Atlantic League track and field championships … picked Maryland over Ohio State, Clemson, Rutgers and Virginia Tech … coached by Dave Ellen.

Defensive Backs Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Bell:
“Markquese may be the biggest DB in our program. As big as he is, he may be our most athletic DB. He’s a track guy and can jump out of the gym. He’s played every position on the field this year for his high school team. He’s smooth even with his size and is just extremely athletic.”

Kenny Bennett — Defensive Back — 6-3, 200 — Philadelphia, Pa. (Academy at Palumbo)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 First Team PFN All-State – Class 5A and Second Team All-Southeastern PA … also a recipient of the 2016 Mini Max High School Award … led team in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2016 … posted 27 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2016 … chose the Terps over Pitt, Temple and Virginia Tech … coached by Scott Pitzner.

Defensive Backs Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Bennett:
“Kenny is a long, rangy, big corner, which is much needed. He isn’t going to back down from anyone. He plays with a big chip on his shoulder. We were actually able to coach him at a camp and know what kind of player we’re getting. We think we’re getting a steal.”

Bryce Brand — Back — 6-3, 230 — Detroit, Mich. (Clayton Valley Charter)

Before Maryland: Played high school football at Clayton Valley Charter in Concord, Ca. and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. … a consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … rated the No. 86 player in the state of California via Rivals … ranked the No. 99 player in the state of California and the No. 43 inside linebacker in the nation by ESPN … ranked the No. 131 defensive end in the nation by Scout … ranked the No. 81 outside linebacker in the nation by 247sports … recorded 90 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery his senior season at Clayton Valley Charter … chose Maryland over Arizona and Toledo … coached by Tim Murphy.

Linebacker Coach Matt Barnes on Bryce Brand:
“Bryce is an explosive playmaker. He’s extremely physical at the point of attack. He has the mentality to where he’s always looking to make the next big hit or next game-changing play.”

Jalen Browder — Wide Receiver — 6-1, 180 — Dallas, Ga. (East Paulding HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … 2015 Class 5-A All-Region … racked up 764 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 56 catches and ran for 110 yards and a touchdown as a junior … averaged 20.8 points per game as a varsity basketball player as a junior … also received offers from Louisville, Ole Miss and South Carolina … coached by Jon Lindsey.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Browder:
“Jalen has a great combination of length and quickness. He possesses smooth and effortless movement skills along with great ball skills.”

Tahj Capehart — Wide Receiver — 5-10, 175 — Virginia Beach, Va. (Bishop Sullivan Catholic)

Before Maryland: Rated a 4-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN … played his high school football at Ocean Lakes High before moving to Bishop Sullivan Catholic for his senior season … dealt with a hamstring injury, but caught 19 balls for 256 yards and two touchdowns as a senior … made 25 catches for 606 yards and six touchdowns as a junior … caught 30 balls for for 623 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore … played for head coach Chris Scott at Ocean Lakes and Bishop Sullivan.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Capehart:
“Tahj is fast and explosive with really soft hands and quick feet. He has home run potential. He’s versatile enough to play in the backfield and in the slot as well. He can truly create a lot of mismatches.”

Carlos Carriere — Wide Receiver — 6-4, 170 — Alpharetta, Ga. (Alpharetta HS)

Before Maryland: Played at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Ga. … a consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … ranked the No. 77 player in the state of Georgia by 247sports and Rivals … ranked the No. 71 player in the state of Georgia by ESPN … ranked the No. 13 wide receiver in the state of Georgia by Scout … ranked the No. 95 WR in the nation by Rivals … had 87 receptions for 1396 yards and 21 touchdowns throughout high school … had 44 receptions for 771 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season … Alpharetta ended the season ranked No. 19 in the state of Georgia by Max Preps … coached by Jacob Nichols.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Carriere:
“Carlos plays above the rim on the perimeter. He will create match-up problems for smaller corners. He also has tremendous hands.”

Jayden Comma — Wide Receiver — 6-2, 202 — Roswell, Ga. (Roswell HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star prospect according to all major recruiting databases … … 2015 All-Metro North Fulton County … 2016 All-Region 5-6A First Team … caught 44 balls for 764 yards and 10 scores as a senior… snagged 17 balls for 223 yards and four scores as a sophomore … helped Roswell advance to the Class 7-A championship game as a senior … Roswell was in the top-25 nationally during Comma’s senior season … also received offers from Louisville, West Virginia and Minnesota … coached by John Ford.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Comma:
“Jayden plays extremely physical and uses his size effectively. He has strong hands and is great on contested balls.”

Ayinde Eley — Linebacker — 6-3, 204 — Silver Spring, Md. (Good Counsel)

Before Maryland: A 4-star recruit according to Scout … a three-star recruit according to ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals … rated as the No. 15 player in the state of Maryland via ESPN … rated as the No. 64 OLB in the nation via ESPN … rated as the No. 8 player in the state of Maryland via 247Sports … rated as the No. 26 outside linebacker in the nation via 247Sports … rated as the No. 2 OLB in the state of Maryland and No. 4 OLB in the East region via Scout … rated the No. 22 OLB in the country via Scout … also received offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, West Virginia and Virginia Tech … coached by Bob Milloy.

Linebacker Coach Matt Barnes on Eley:
“Ayinde has tremendous upside and plays with a very high football IQ. He brings great length to the position and his versatility makes him a tremendous asset.”

Tayon Fleet-Davis — Running Back — 5-11, 210 — Oxon Hill, Md. (Potomac)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 Second Team Washington Post All-Metro … totaled more than 30 career touchdowns at Potomac … averaged over six-yards a carry in career at Potomac … ran for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns, in addition to catching 25 passes for 433 yards as a senior … ran for 748 yards and four touchdowns and caught two touchdowns as a junior … ran for 356 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore … led Potomac to 27-9 record in three years on team … was also considering Syracuse, Indiana and Iowa … coached by Ronnie Crump.

Running Backs Coach Anthony Tucker on Fleet-Davis:
Tayon’s a bigger, more physical running back. He’s a really good athlete. He’s a big guy, but has great footwork, balance and ball skills. I think he has a high football IQ and is super competitive. He’s a guy that’s going to bring a little bit of a different dynamic. He’s still young and I expect him to keep growing. It’ll be really fun to work with him.”

Brandon Gaddy — Defensive Line — 6-4, 320 — Virginia Beach, Va. (Bishop Sullivan Catholic)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … totaled 23 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a senior … helped lead Bishop Sullivan to a 7-3 record in 2016 … ran for 772 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior … also received offers from Oregon, Florida State, Florida, Virginia Tech and Michigan State … coached by Chris Scott.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh on Brandon Gaddy:
“Brandon is freaky and talented player. He played everywhere on the field during his high school career. I’m excited for his potential at the defensive tackle position for us.”

Breyon Gaddy — Defensive Line — 6-4, 315 — Virginia Beach, Va. (Bishop Sullivan Catholic)

Before Maryland: A 4-star recruit according to 247sports.com, Rivals and Scout … ranked in the top-20 nationally at position by 247sports.com and Rivals … 2016 Virginia-Pilot Second Team All-Tidewater … totaled 22 tackles and four sacks as a senior … helped lead Bishop Sullivan to a 7-3 record in 2016 … had 46 tackles as a junior … also received offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Florida, Michigan and USC … coached by Chris Scott.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh on Breyon Gaddy:
“Breyon is a defensive coordinators dream. He adds much needed size and explosiveness to our defense. He will be a force in the middle for us.”

Kasim Hill — Quarterback — 6-2, 230 — Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College)

Before Maryland: A consensus 4-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … the 93rd-ranked overall player in the 2017 class according to Rivals … a member of the ESPN300 … 2017 Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year … played in the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game as a member of Team Armour … received quarterback MVP honors at The Opening’s Washington D.C. Regional … 2016 American Family Insurance/USA Today All-USA Washington D.C. First Team … 2016 Washington Post All-Metro Honorable Mention … 2016 WCAC All-Conference Third Team selection … 2015 All-MIAA selection playing quarterback for Gilman in Baltimore … honorable mention all-state selection as a junior … passed for 1,431 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes and rushed for 885 yards and 10 scores in 2016 … led the Cadets to an 8-4 record and an appearance in the WCAC championship game … also received offers from Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State … coached by Joe Casamento.

Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell on Hill:
“Kasim has a great toolset. He can beat you in a multitude of ways. From a physical standpoint, he has a great body and has all the measurables. And even bigger than all that, he’s incredibly mature and has tremendous leadership traits. He’s been instrumental in keeping this class together and adding some of the great pieces around him.”

Tyran Hunt — Offensive Line — 6-7, 282 — Boykins, Va. (Southampton HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Virginia Football Team … 2015 Second Team Defensive All-Conference … was also considering Virginia Tech, Virginia and Syracuse … coached by Littleton Parker.

Offensive Line Coach Dave Borbely on Hunt:
“Tyran really fits exactly what we’re looking for in terms of size, speed, strength and growth potential at the offensive line position. He has great agility, is able to change direction effectively and can run. We think he has the potential to be a really great tackle for us down the road.”

MJ Jarrell — Wide Receiver — 6-0, 180 — Orlando, Fla. (Timber Creek)

Before Maryland: Rated a 3-star recruit by Scout, ESPN and 247Sports … ranked 9th on the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida Super60 prospect rankings … named to the Central Florida All-Star games and caught six passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns to earn game MVP honors … caught 38 passes for 496 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 382 yards and a touchdown as a senior … led Timber Creek to the Class 8A regional semifinals and an 8-4 record … caught 25 balls for 364 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 383 yards and two touchdowns as a junior … also received offers from Louisville, South Carolina and Pitt… coached by Jim Buckridge.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Jarrell:
“MJ can do it all. He has great ball-in-hand skills, but is also long and athletic to play outside. He can easily turn a five-yard reception into a 50-yard game-changing play. He also does a nice job playing the ball in the air and can be a threat in the return game.”

Deon Jones — Defensive Back — 6-0, 170 — Oxon Hill, Md. (Potomac HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 4-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … ranked No. 155 in the ESPN300 … the 14th-ranked cornerback nationally according to ESPN and Rivals … ranked the top defensive back in the state of Maryland … missed the 2016 season due to injury … 2015 First Team All-WCAC … was also considering Florida, Clemson, Florida State and Penn State.

Defensive Backs Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Jones:
“Deon is somebody I’ve known for a really long time. He is an extremely skilled, technically sound corner. He’s athletic with great ball skills and has a tenacious attitude. He’s a very serious football player, who’s extremely mature for his age.”

Johnny Jordan — Offensive Center — 6-1, 301 — Leesburg, Va. (Gonzaga HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star prospect according to all major recruiting services … 2016 American Family Insurance/USA Today All-USA Washington D.C. First Team … 2016 Washington Post All-Metro First Team … 2016 WCAC All-Conference First Team … 2015 WCAC All-Conference First Team … 2014 WCAC All-Conference Third Team … helped paved the way for Gonzaga’s leading rusher Tyree Randolph to rack up 1,731 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2016 … also received offers from Louisville, Virginia Tech and Pitt … coached by Randy Trivers.

Offensive Line Coach Dave Borbely on Jordan:
“Johnny is born to block. He’s exactly what we’re looking for at center. He’s big, strong and wide while also being very mobile and having a great center of gravity. As soon as we saw his tape, we knew right away that he’s someone we wanted to bring aboard.”

Javon Leake — Running Back — 6-0, 208 — Greensboro, N.C. (Page HS)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star prospect according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 American Family Insurance/USA Today All-USA North Carolina First Team … two-time Greensboro News & Record HSXtra First-Team All-Area selection and one-time honorable mention selection … selected for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … All-Metro 4-A Conference … rushed for 1,679 yards on 216 carries despite missing two games due to injury as a senior … also caught 16 passes for 114 yards and played defensive back … helped the Pirates to a 14-2 record and an appearance in the Class 4-A title game … rushed 277 times for 2,048 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior … also caught 21 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns … helped lead Page to the 4-A title game … also received offers from Louisville, South Carolina, UNC, Tennessee and Virginia Tech … coached by Kevin Gillespie.

Running Backs Coach Anthony Tucker on Leake:
“Javon is the number one running back in the state of North Carolina and is hands down one of the best players in that state. He’s a bigger guy, but has sprinter speed and can do everything you want in the run game. He’s just a really explosive athlete and extremely competitive. I don’t even think he’s close to having reached his potential. He can go line up at receiver, he can do anything out of the backfield, he’s going to be stout in protection. He’s a willing, tough, physical guy. I’m excited to have him.”

Anthony McFarland — Running Back — 5-8, 185 — Hyattsville, Md. (DeMatha Catholic)

Before Maryland: A consensus 4-star recruit according to all major recruiting databases … rated the 3rd-best running back nationally and second best player in the state of Maryland by 247 Sports and Rivals … 2016 Under Armour All-American … missed senior season due to injury … 2015 Second Team Washington Post All-Metro … ran for 527 yards and eight touchdowns (8.5 yards/carry) as a junior, while also catching 25 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns … 2014 Honorable Mention Washington Post All-Metro … rushed for 1124 yards (10.1 yards/carry) as a sophomore, in addition to catching 15 passes for 312 yards and 12 touchdowns … was also considering Alabama, Miami, Penn State and Georgia.

Running Backs Coach Anthony Tucker on McFarland:
“Anthony is obviously one of the best players in the state of Maryland and could have gone to any university in the country. He decided to stay home, which is big for our area and big for our program. He’s a guy that can do everything in the backfield and legitimately go line up at receiver as well. He has sprinter speed and he’s stronger than you think. We’re excited to start working with Anthony and we know it’s a huge deal for him to be able to represent where he has come from.”

Jordan McNair — Offensive Line — 6-5, 330 — Randallstown, Md. (McDonogh School)

Before Maryland: A 4-star recruit according to 247Sports ESPN and Scout … ranked in the top-25 nationally at position by ESPN and Scout … the 6th-ranked player in the state of Maryland by ESPN and 247sports.com … 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Maryland Football Team … 2016 First Team Baltimore Sun All-Metro … 2015 Consensus Maryland All-State, First Team Baltimore Sun All-Metro and First Team All-MIAA … helped lead McDonogh to an 8-3 record as a senior … was also considering Ohio State, Auburn, Penn State and Rutgers.

Offensive Line Coach Dave Borbely on McNair:
“Jordan was a must-get guy for us. He’s got size, strength and can run. He was a very highly recruited guy that we got in on early. I love what he can do on the field. He’s a guy that every time you saw him, he seemed to get a little bit bigger and taller each time. I’m really excited about him and what he can do here.”

B’Ahmad Miller — Defensive Line — 6-3, 262 — Newark, Del. (St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)

Before Maryland: Played at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Md. … a 3-star recruit according to Rivals, 247sports and ESPN … rated the No. 15 player in the state of Maryland and No. 34 strong-side defensive end in the nation via 247sports … rated the No. 20 player in the state of Maryland via Rivals … high school team ended the season ranked No. 3 in the state of Maryland via Max Preps … also received offers from Pitt, Illinois and Temple…coached by Henry Russell.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh on Miller:
“B’Ahmad is an athletic interior player with a nose for the ball. He’s extremely quick and strong. He’s a very good tackler and can get after the quarterback on the pass rush.”

Marcus Minor — Offensive Line — 6-4, 296 — Lanham, Md. (DeMatha Catholic)

Before Maryland: Played at local DeMatha High School … a consensus 4-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … rated as the No. 5 player in the state of Maryland via ESPN … a member of the ESPN3000 … rated as the No. 17 guard in the country via ESPN … rated as the No. 9 player in the state of Maryland via 247Sports … rated as the No. 19 guard in the country via 247Sports … rated as the No. 6 player in the state of Maryland via Rivals … tabbed as the No. 1 guard in the state of Maryland and east region via Scout … rated as the No. 6 guard in the country via Scout … 2016 First Team All-WCAC selection … 2016 USA Today First Team All-Maryland … helped lead Dematha to its fourth straight WCAC Championship in 2016…high school team ended the 2016 season ranked ninth in country via Max Preps and 14th in the nation via USA Today … 2015 Third Team All-WCAC selection … also received offers from Auburn, Florida, Penn State and Tennessee … coached by Elijah Brooks.

Offensive Line Coach Dave Borbely on Minor:
“Marcus takes the glasses off, puts the helmet on, and he is a dynamo out there. He’s a very conscientious guy that really works hard at his craft on his own. We’re really excited about him and the versatility he can bring. He can do a lot of things. He’s a great run blocker, great pass protector and can run. We really like him.”

Sean Nelson — Wide Receiver — 6-0, 178 — Fairburn, Ga. (Langston Hughes)

Before Maryland: Played at Langston Hughes HS in Fairburn Ga. … a 4-star recruit according to ESPN … a three-star recruit according to Scout, 247sports and Rivals … rated the No. 10 wide receiver in the state of Georgia via Scout … ranked the No. 100 WR in the country and the No. 66 player overall in the state of Georgia via Rivals … had 82 receptions for 1342 yards and 14 touchdowns throughout high school … also had 39 receptions for 543 yards and 9 touchdowns his senior season … also received offers from Louisville, Indiana and Illinois … coached by Willie Cannon.

Wide Receivers Coach Chris Beatty on Nelson:
“Sean is smooth and has home run capabilities. He also has length and can make people miss. He tracks the deep ball very well.”

Andrew Park — Tight End — 6-4, 234 — Fairfax Station, Va. (Lake Braddock)

Before Maryland: A consensus 3-star prospect according to all major recruiting databases … 2016 American Family Insurance/USA Today All-USA Virginia Second Team … two-time Virginia all-state selection … 2016 Washington Post Honorable Mention … totaled 21 catches for 343 yards and a touchdown as a senior … caught 26 balls for 398 yards and five touchdowns as a junior … also received offers from Temple and Pitt … coached by Jim Poythress.

Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends Coach Pete Lembo on Park:
“Andrew has a great combination of size, speed and overall athleticism for the tight end position. He catches the ball very naturally and can get yards after contact. His versatility as a receiver and blocker makes him a perfect fit for the position in our offensive system.”

Lawtez Rogers — Defensive Line — 6-4, 256 — Greenbelt, Md. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Before Maryland: Rated a 3-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports … 2016 Washington Post All-Metro Honorable Mention … 2015 honorable mention all-state selection … named to the Maryland Crab Bowl all-star game … also received offers from Louisville, Michigan State, Rutgers and Wake Forest … coached by Tom Green.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh on Rogers:
“B’Ahmad is an athletic interior player with a nose for the ball. He’s extremely quick and strong. He’s a very good tackler and can get after the quarterback on the pass rush.”

Cam Spence — Defensive Line — 6-3, 311 — Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College)

Before Maryland: Played high school football at IMG Academy and St. John’s College High School … a 4-star recruit according to ESPN, 247Sports, and Scout … a 3-star recruit according to Rivals … rated as the No. 3 player in Washington, DC via ESPN … rated as the No. 27 defensive lineman in the country via ESPN … rated as the No. 2 player in Washington DC via 247Sports … rated as the No. 20 defensive tackle in the nation via 247 Sports … rated as the No. 1 defensive tackle in Washington DC and No. 4 defensive tackle in the east region via Scout … rated as the No. 24 defensive lineman in the country via Scout…rated as the No. 4 players in Washington DC via Rivals … rated as the No. 36 defensive tackle in the nation via Rivals … 2016 Third Team All-WCAC selection … also received offers from Penn State, Florida State, Florida, Kentucky and Auburn … coached by Joe Casamento.

Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh on Spence:
“Cam is the heart of this class and a beast on the field. He will be an every down interior lineman that adds explosive pass rush ability as well as size.”

Nick Underwood –Linebacker — 6-0, 215 — Lake Oswego, Ore. (Lake Oswego/Riverside CC/Air Force)

Before Maryland: Played JUCO football at Riverside City College in Riverside, Calif. and high school football at Lake Oswego HS in Lake Oswego, Ore. … a consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … ranked the No. 23 player in the state of Oregon via 247sports … ranked the No. 8 inside linebacker and the No. 120 player in his class via 247sports … ranked the No. 99 player in his class via Rivals … recorded 71 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and one pass breakup in 11 games with Riverside City College.

Linebacker Coach Matt Barnes on Underwood:
“Nick plays with a very high football IQ. He’s quick and explosive. We really liked that he was productive in a very competitive league.”

Alex Woods — Defensive Back — 6-2, 200 — Durham, N.C. (Hillside HS/Lackawanna College)

Before Maryland: Played JUCO football at Lackawanna C.C. in Scranton, Pa. and high school football at Hillside in Durham, N.C. … a consensus 3-star recruit according to all major recruiting services … rated the No. 2 player in the state of North Carolina and the No. 13 corner in the nation via 247sports … rated the No. 95 player in the nation by 247sports … rated the No. 13 CB in the nation by ESPN … had 9 tackles and one interception in 7 games at Lackawanna College … coached by former Terp standout Mark Duda (1979-82).

Defensive Backs Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Woods:
“Alex is experienced and that’s a big plus for us. For his size, he’s extremely nimble, athletic, and quick-footed. He’s a big, long, rangy corner. He has good ball skills and we’re excited to have him.”

What They Are Saying About Maryland’s Recruiting Class…

“Maryland’s class is the biggest story in the Big Ten. And it’s a big story nationally. We’ve always known about the DMV and how fertile that area is. You could make a case that in the old Big Ten, maybe Ohio was the most fertile area in the country. I think now the DMV challenges that. But what’s even more impressive is how DJ and his staff have been able to keep that talent home. If that is sustainable, then Maryland competes for the Big Ten East, which has become the most competitive division in college football.”
–Gerry DiNardo, Big Ten Network Analyst

“DJ Durkin’s first full recruiting class at Maryland has been, by all accounts, a success. The Terps have the No. 18 ranked recruiting class, which is the highest ranked class for Maryland since ESPN started ranking with stars in 2010. The class is led by five ESPN 300 commitments, which is the most in one class for Maryland since the ESPN 300 started in 2013. Overall, the class is going to fill some big needs for the Terps with 29 total commitments, eight of which are ranked as four-stars. A lot of what Durkin and his staff need right now in recruiting is depth and competition. This class should be full of eventual contributors for the Terps and could be a big part of continuing progress forward for Durkin.”
–Tom VanHaaren, ESPN College football Recruiting Analyst

“Coach Durkin and his staff have done a phenomenal job bringing in one of the highest rated recruiting class ever for the University of Maryland, but also bringing in some really important pieces that are going to contribute very early in their careers. Anthony McFarland is probably the most impactful commit Maryland has had since Stefon Diggs. It really sends a message to the DMV. Looking at this recruiting class from top to bottom, it’s hard to not see how many players are from the DMV.”
–Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

“Maryland may be the biggest surprise in the country. You couldn’t have asked for anything better out of DJ Durkin. They have started to win but aren’t at where he’d like them to be. But the way he’s recruiting now bodes well for them in future seasons.”
–Allen Trieu, Scout.com

Head Coach DJ Durkin on…

His excitement of signing the highest-rated recruiting class in program history:
It’s a great day for our program and a great day for our team. I can’t tell you how excited we are and how tremendous of a day this is for all of us and for the direction we’re moving in. This recruiting class is a big class in number — we’re close to 30 guys — but also the quality of the class. From top to bottom, all positions on offense and defense are represented in this class. It’s about an even split between offense and defense. You look at a position and we start going through the names and how strong we feel about the guys as students, athletes and as people with character. 17 guys from the DMV — from our backyard. I can’t tell you how excited we are about that. We’ve made no secret about that; that is our formula. Our formula is we’re going to take care of our backyard and we’re going to win here in the DMV. We’re going to build our team with that being our foundation. To land 17 guys in one class from here is big time. There are eight guys who have been WCAC All-Conference players and a lot of the Maryland public schools are represented. Some great programs are represented in this class. You go down that list and it’s really big.” With that said, there’s also representation from 10 states in this class. We’re recruiting right here in our backyard but we’re also recruiting guys from various parts of the country who are highly recruited. The rankings and numbers and all that are great. Recruiting has taken on a life of its own. It’s like a different season right now with Signing Day and all the coverage. You look at our class and we’re Top 20 in every major publication and even Top 10 in some. But for us that doesn’t really say much or do much other than this: what that says is these guys that we just signed and the guys who became a part of our family have a lot of options. You don’t get ranked this high or have all these stars with guys that are limited in their options. I think the most important thing from my standpoint is that there are guys that had the opportunity to go play in a lot of different places in the country and at some of the perennial, big names in college football, and they chose to come here to the University of Maryland and to be part of something special that we’re building. That’s the most impressive and exciting thing to me and I think that tells you where the excitement level is around our program. There are so many people to recognize and thank. When you put together a class like this, it’s hard to factor in all of the people who had something to do with it. Obviously our coaching staff — we have an unbelievable staff that works tirelessly. I run them pretty hard and we recruit here every day. We’re always available and we are always here. Every weekend we are here to host recruits and their families to make sure they feel welcome here. They’re taking a lot of time away from their families and everything else but that’s part of why we have this class. We have tremendous recruiters on this staff and we have guys who work really hard at it. They do an unbelievable job planning all of this out and organizing things like visits and coaches travel. When these kids come on visits, we make sure they spend time with our strength staff, our training staff, our academic staff. There’s so many people involved in the program and I can tell you — I’ve sat in this very room with our whole staff and talked about the importance of recruiting and put an emphasis on recruiting — every person in our program has a part in recruiting. They have all taken that to heart and have done an unbelievable job with that. It’s tremendous the amount of pride everyone in this building has taken in this recruiting class and it’s well deserved. Last, but certainly not least, our players. Our current players on our team are the guys who host these recruits when they come. That’s them taking time out of their schedule and out of their day even when it may be an inconvenience to them at times. They have done an unbelievable job making these guys feel welcome and making them feel like part of the team even before they are here. One of the unique things about this class and one of the cool things I think is that these guys have taken ownership in one another to be a part of something. They are recruiting one another. The amount of conversations and time they have spent together — it’s really made it special and made it what it is. We all like to think we’re great recruiters as coaches but other players do an even better job at recruiting. Great players want to play with other great players and this class has really taken ownership in one another in making it one of the best in the country. Those guys do a great job along with our recruits’ parents and families. There’s so much pride in this area and there’s a lot of people in a small place. Everyone knows each other and all these families, mom’s and dad’s have communicated with each other and taken a lot of pride in being part of this. It’s a great day and we’re extremely excited. I think the future is really, really bright with these classes we have put together back-to-back, but we’re going to keep moving forward.”

His emphasis of keeping guys home in the DMV and Prince George’s County:
“Out of our class of 30 guys, it’s hard to single out certain guys. We signed a couple of guys from DeMatha and if you look at the WCAC, you have schools like Gonzaga, Good Counsel, St. John’s, and we have good representation from all of those programs. From Eleanor Roosevelt we signed Lawtez Rogers: a great defensive lineman who we think has a great future. Foie Bazzie is from Quince Orchard’s High School — another great program here in the Maryland public schools. If you look at the numbers we have four offensive linemen coming in and five defensive linemen coming in so we really addressed the line of scrimmage where we need improvement and need to get better. In the skill positions as well we have six receivers and five defensive backs in the fold. Those are areas where we really need to get better and work on. There are 17 total from the DMV and those guys are big because they are the one’s who started this and they have kept it going and brought other guys in with them.”

Opening up a recruiting pipeline in Georgia:
“The guys from Georgia, when you look at it, we were one of the first one’s to get on those guys. I think it was a tremendous job by our staff of identifying them early and then keeping consistent because the rush of offers came after ours and there is something to be said for that. Guys take the approach that they’re not going to forget who was first to offer. That resonates with guys and their families so we jumped early on guys we felt good about as people and players and we got them up here really early to come visit us so they got to see our place early. It just went from there. Several of those guys from Georgia are at the receiver position and we need them. We’re thin at that spot right now. Chris Beatty does a tremendous job recruiting and that plays a big part in keeping those guys with us.”

Signing close to thirty players:
“The way we’re going to recruit here is, you can’t ever have a class where you sign close to thirty guys just based on numbers. This was designed this way. Last year we signed a smaller class, I held onto scholarships to be able to do this, this year.”

On if this signing class will set the standard for years to come:
“We expect to recruit at this level every year and get better and better. There’s not a reason not to. We’re going to attack it and be aggressive with it. We’re currently sitting in the middle of one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the entire country. We have a product that is second to none. You all drove in and pulled up here and saw the facility going up across the street. There will be none better in the country. We play in the best conference in the country. We have a unique relationship with an apparel company that is second to none in the country and it’s the best one to be a part of. You can keep checking the list. There’s now a tremendous influx of talent coming into this program. I know this, great players want to play with other great players. When they see other guys going there, they want to go there for a reason. I think there’s a great opportunity for this to continue as we keep going through this for years to come. This is the level we need to recruit at. It’s what we need to do to go do what we want to do, which is win championships.”

The importance of quarterback Kasim Hill:
“Kasim’s special in that obviously anyone that watches football can put on the tape and watch him and know that he’s a tremendous talent. He can make all the throws, he can beat you running the ball. He’s 230 pounds. The guy is a freak of nature. But that’s only scratching the surface of what Kasim is all about. That’s why I’m so happy to bring him in, what makes him difference than other guys. Just his leadership ability. What he’s all about, what he stands for, what his family stands for. They’re as good as they come. Kasim was one of our early commits. He was a major part of putting this class together because he has that leadership quality about him. I talked to him earlier today on the phone and I said ‘this is great because you are viewed as a leader, this doesn’t stop now.’ That’s going to continue. That’s the position he plays and that’s what he does. He’ll be here competing with the other guys. That’s what all the guys coming in here have a chance to do. He’s ready to do whatever we ask him to do. Obviously we’ll always play the best guy. I know this though, this guy has a bright, bright future here. He’s going to be a household name around here for a long time.”

Anthony McFarland Jr.:
“I can go on and on with what we like about Anthony. He’s electric. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hand. He’s a difference maker. Ant is great because he’s around here all the time. That’s what it was. He’s here all the time. He knows me, he knows our staff, he knows our players. It’s not just like he was here for recruiting presentations. He’s here all the time. That’s the great part about it. He knows what he’s getting with us and we know what we’re getting with him. He got hurt his senior year and is as hungry as can be. The sky’s the limit with him. If you put the ball in his hands, he has the chance every time he has it to go the distance.”

If it’s important to get early enrollees:
“We’re not choosing who we’re recruiting based on if they can be in early. But it’s a huge benefit. If a guy is motivated, if him and his family want to do it, we are all in. We push it and try to help them the best we can. It’s a tremendous benefit to them as well as our team. We don’t push anyone though. If it’s not something they want to do, we don’t push it. I don’t think it’s something you really want to do to a guy that’s not feeling it because you take him out of his senior year of high school. To all the guys that are in here, yea, it’s tremendous. They’re all in here for winter workouts with us, they’re enrolled in fifteen hours of classes, they’re going to take part in fifteen spring practices. So when all the other freshman come in this summer, these guys are in a class of their own. They’re not a freshman, they’re above that at this point.”

The defensive backs being brought in:
“When you look at those DB’s. We need it. One of the biggest things, at safety, corner, all the DBs, we have guys with length, we have guys that can run and change direction and go cover guys. What we want to do defensively is that. Get up in guys face, play some press, and play some man to man. That’s what we want to do and we brought in guys that can help us go do that.”

How important it is to recruit New Jersey:
“Jersey pumps out good players every year. They have great high school programs up there. It’s in close proximity to us, so we’ll always be up that way and trying to get as many guys as we can. We feel great about Markquese (Bell). He walks in the room and looks like a NFL safety. It’s going to be for him learning the defense and getting caught on but he’s going to have every opportunity to do that.”

Getting more size on the offensive and defensive lines:
“It’s a huge emphasis. I made a statement to our staff many times. Let’s recruit big guys that are big. Big bodied guys. Guys that have big frames, can grow, and are huge. Also I tell them, let’s recruit fast guys that are fast. If we’re recruiting defensive backs, running backs and receivers, let’s get the guys that are really fast. It’s not a complex formula but we need to get those guys on the line of scrimmage if we want to be where we want to be in this conference. There’s always so many of those human beings on earth. When you walk into a high school, you can see those guys that are 6’5, 6’6 and are coordinated and can move their feet. Yea, you have to work really hard to get those guys and credit to all the people I mentioned earlier for putting this part of our recruiting class together. Those guys are all highly recruited, they weren’t some hidden gem that we found somewhere, they were highly recruited for a good reason and they made the decision to come here.”

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