Coach Ralph Friedgen signed a solid 2008 recruiting class yesterday. It may have ranked only 6th in the ACC and outside the top 25 nationally but it did a good job of filling some needs for this team in the coming years.
The strength of this class has to be the three receivers Maryland landed. Dematha standout Kenny Tate probably is the highlight of this group and of the class overall. He is quick, physical and big. He can go down the field and over the middle with equal ability. Initially Tate was leaning towards Illinois but decided to stay home so that his friends and family could see him play. Kevin Dorsey and Kerry Boykins are also two 4-star receivers that will join Tate in College Park. With a deep receiver corps going into next season I would expect that at least two of the three will redshirt. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Isaiah Williams, Danny Oquendo and LaQuan Williams form a pretty solid group, even with the last two recovering from injuries that ended their seasons. The other younger wide outs have not stepped up so there may be some need for depth unless 2007 recruit Landsford Watson can also move outside. It is too bad there can't be any play on the fact that this group of wide out recruits all have names that begin with the letter K. Triple K...hmm that doesn't work. "Special K's," maybe.
Watson, Devonte Campbell and Drew Gloster will probably fight it out for the tight end and H-back roles left by Joey Haynos and Jason Goode.
Gary Douglas and Davin Meggett provide some needed running back depth behind Morgan Green and Da'Rel Scott. Meggett is the son of former NY Giant Dave Meggett though the two are not close. Both are very productive and underrated running backs that don't wow you with measurables but just churn out yards.
Hopefully this offensive line class will provide some depth over the next few seasons. Along with the 2007 class maybe this is a sign that Friedgen is finally committed to dealing with some weak recruiting in the trenches over the prior classes. Justin Lewis, R.J. Dill and even possibly A.J. Francis may provide interior line depth.
One of the bigger "need" recruits was DT Masengo Kabongo. He is a 6-1 fireplug who is very solid and agile for a kid his size. He may be needed right away with the departures of Carlos Feliciano and Dre Moore. He is more of an attacking lineman than an anchor type. He wants to get up field and shoot gaps, not just occupy blockers. Tackle Teddy Dargan would be a nice addition to the defensive line but appears to have some academic issues. Friedgen wasn't optimistic about him qualifying.
Eteyen Edet may be the latest underrated linebacker to come to Maryland and make a name for himself. He has not been playing football at a high level very long and only recently performed at a level to make the Terps take notice. When Fridge went to see him he nearly posted 20 tackles and was making plays all over the field.
Corner Cameron Chism has been compared to former standouts like Josh Wilson and Domonique Foxworth. If that is true Terp fans should be delighted to have landed this big and fast corner. Of all the players in this class I am most excited about Chism. He, Kabongo (you know his nickname with be Ka-Boom), Meggett and Tate will add much to their various positions over the next three seasons. I do expect most of this class to redshirt.
In an interesting side note Fridge said he is probably limiting his recruiting attention to within a 5 hour drive of the Washington area. That specifically cuts out places like Florida and Georgia. Maryland has gotten some good players from Florida like Donnie Woods and D'Qwell Jackson over the years. Friedgen hinted that the academic requirements at Maryland may make it difficult to find players in those states that can gain admission to the school. The head coach made the point repeatedly that he focused on recruiting good students with high character. I have to think that is related to some of the recent recruiting incidents with questionable characters like Melvin Aleaze (now serving time in prison) and others who did not keep their commitment. It may not be a flashy class, they whiffed on a elite quarterback, but it fills many needs for Maryland with very solid players who probably will not end up as busts.
You can get much more information on these recruits here.