Thursday, February 04, 2010

Friedgen salvages decent 2010 recruiting class

Maryland’s 2010 recruiting class was a decent but unspectacular haul but impressive given the tumult that the program has suffered the last four months. This class was put together in the midst of the Terrapins worst season since 1997 and with a cloud of uncertainty regarding the future of the entire coaching staff. Given those circumstances I think you have to judge this class on a curve. It tries to address some needs like offensive line and in the defensive secondary while adding some potential stars at quarterback and linebacker.


Offensive line recruits Max Garcia, Jake Wheeler, Sal Conaboy and Nate Clarke are going to need some time to grow into their positions but have the potential to give a solid foundation in a few years. James Franklin has expressed the desire to have a lighter and quicker offensive line and these three would seem to fit that mold.


In the secondary Mario Rowson, Jeremiah Johnson, Titus Till and Jeremiah Wilson will give Don Brown some immediate help with depth. Maryland is replacing three of the four members of the secondary who started last season so a few of these recruits may see playing time as true freshmen.


It was obvious that Don Brown needed more athletes who can rush the passer and he may have a few more next fall. David Mackall would seem to be an immediate boost to the sometimes anemic pass rush last year. He spent a year at Fork Union getting his academics in order and Maryland was able to hold off a bunch of high profile programs to keep him in the fold. Ian Evans, Desmond Kearse, Clarence Murphy and Andre Monroe will add depth to the defensive line and potentially challenge the young incumbents who have yet to show their ability.


The gems of the class are probably quarterback Tyler Smith from Pennsylvania and Linebacker Javarie Johnson from Dunbar in Washington, D.C. Smith is being heralded as the best quarterback recruit of the Friedgen era since Jordan Steffy. Smith seems to possess more technical skill than Steffy and has a excellent arm and touch on his deep passes. Smith isn’t a scrambler but has enough speed to make plays with his feet. In high school he passed for 3,130 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is probably a year away from competing for a starting spot.


Johnson was initially committed to Miami but changed his mind and decided to stay close to home. In a sense he fell into the laps of the coaching staff. The 6-3 210 pound linebacker is a sideline to sideline hitter who has a chance to continue the lineage of fine linebackers that Maryland has had since Friedgen came to College Park.


Overall it is a solid class that addresses a number of needs that Maryland has going forward. The 2011 class will likely be an even greater challenge as the specter of a coaching staff change will still loom over the program unless the team comes out of the gate strong next season.

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