COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Damian Price is staying close to home, delighting Maryland coach Randy Edsall.
The offensive lineman, a five-star prospect, put on a Maryland cap during a nationally televised press conference at Bishop McNamara High School on signing day on Wednesday, causing a raucous celebration among the coaching staff in nearby College Park.
Edsall and several assistants had gathered in a staff room at the Gossett Team House to watch Prince’s announcement and were ecstatic when the Parade All-American picked Maryland over Florida and South Carolina.
“It was pure joy, total elation,” recruiting coordinator John Dunn said.
Edsall and lead recruiter Mike Locksley tried to call Prince on Tuesday night, but he did not answer. Prince said he made his final decision Wednesday morning and did not confide in even close family members before telling the TV audience.
“I was watching television and found out just like all of you,” Edsall told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “I thought we were in good shape with Damian and had done everything we could. When he made that announcement it capped off a great morning.”
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Prince was dominant as a run and pass blocker en route to also being selected for the Under Armour All-America game. He was rated the No. 1 player in the state by all the major recruiting services. Rivals boosted Maryland’s position in the team rankings 14 spots to No. 51 after Prince signed his national letter of intent.
National Rankings: (Rivals 51; Scout 60).
Best in class: OL Damian Prince, Forestville, Md. Parade All-American picked Maryland over Florida and South Carolina in a nationally televised ceremony at Bishop McNamara High School. Rated the No. 1 prospect in Maryland by all recruiting services and the nation’s No. 20 overall prospect by Rivals.com.
Best of the rest: DE Jesse Aniebonam, Olney, Md.; WR Juwann Winfree, Englewood, N.J. Aniebonam is a highly regarded pass rusher who had 30 scholarship offers from schools in just about every major conference. Winfree was offered as a safety by Georgia but wanted to play offense.
Late addition: LB Nnamdi Egbuaba, Baltimore. Edsall thinks the Terps got a steal in this under-the-radar prospect, who possesses great size and speed along with a high motor.
One that got away: CB Jalen Tabor, Washington, D.C. Five-star cornerback from Friendship Collegiate Academy grew up minutes from the College Park campus and always spoke highly of Maryland, but ultimately signed with Florida.
NOTES: Two of Maryland’s top recruits are already enrolled at College Park. Derwin Gray and Larry Mazyck, both of whom graduated from Friendship Collegiate Academy in D.C., spent the 2013 season playing at Fork Union Military Academy and Iowa Western Community College, respectively. Gray and Mazyck, who technically count against the Class of 2013 in terms of how their scholarships are assigned, should contend for immediate playing time.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)