COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — First-year Maryland head coach Randy Edsall was in the unusual position on Wednesday of announcing a recruiting class that was cultivated by his predecessor.
Seventeen of the 20 players that signed with the Terrapins committed while Ralph Friedgen was head coach. The remaining three players that selected Maryland after Edsall was hired in early January already had been recruited by the previous coaching regime.
So, it was somewhat of an unspoken compliment to Friedgen and his staff that Edsall said he was delighted with the university’s 2011 crop of recruits.
“I’m just as excited as can be about what took place this morning,” he said. “I feel very good about each and every one of the kids we signed today.”
He praised the three assistants who were part of the previous staff — defensive coordinator Don Brown, offensive line coach Tom Brattan and wide receivers coach Lee Hull — for the fact that Maryland held onto the majority of commitments received during Friedgen’s tenure.
Edsall said he evaluated tape of every committed prospect and then met with player and their families to reaffirm their interest in Maryland.
Maryland closed a difficult recruiting campaign on a positive note when Bowie High School defensive back Jeremiah Hendy reaffirmed his commitment.
Hendy, a defensive back who is rated the eighth-best overall prospect in the country by Rivals.com, originally committed to the Terrapins in April. But he opened his recruitment after offensive coordinator James Franklin left to become head coach at Vanderbilt University and Friedgen later was fired.
Hendy, a track standout who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, had taken official visits to Iowa, N.C. State and Virginia, but announced at halftime of Bowie’s basketball game on
Tuesday night that he would stay within the state and attend Maryland.
“It really came down to Maryland and Iowa and it was a tough choice,” Hendy said. “I just felt more comfortable with the coaching staff at Maryland and had a better connection with the players at Maryland.”
The 6-foot-1, 188-pound cornerback is the Terrapins’ only recruit that was rated in the Top 25 of the Maryland-D.C. region by SuperPrep Magazine and Scout.com.
Landing Hendy, who is considered the top public school prospect in talent-rich Prince George’s County, eased the pain of a disappointing effort on the local recruiting scene for the Terps.
With his signing, Maryland gained just two of the Top 20 prospects in the state, according to Rivals.com. The other was DeMatha cornerback Michael Williams, who is the younger brother of former Maryland great Madieu Williams — now a safety for the Minnesota Vikings.
The school was not doing well on its home turf before the coaching change, but the departure of Franklin and Friedgen kept the program from landing Gilman athlete Darius Jennings. The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year was reportedly a heavy lean toward the Terps before the departure of Franklin, his recruiter.
The consensus All-American was one of five from the Maryland-D.C. area to sign with Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia on Wednesday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)