The University of Maryland held its annual ‘national football signing day’ press conference for the media this afternoon.
Head coach Ralph Friedgen took the podium and gave a brief recap of each of the twenty players, including eighteen kids from the class of’08, plus two “greyshirts” who accepted a scholarship from Maryland in ’07 but deferred enrollment until January ‘08.
The Fridge said he was extremely pleased with this class and that it was by far the best recruiting class academically in his seven years in College Park. When asked if there was a position or two that they wished they could have added another player, he replied that one more DB and a LB would have been nice.
Six of the twenty recruits are already enrolled at Maryland and are eligible to participate in spring practice. Of the six, Friedgen mentioned that (MD) TE Devonte Campbell, who he said was fast, big and strong “like Vernon Davis” and (NC) LB Demetrius Hartsfield have the best shot of taking the field in the fall. (MD) WR Kevin Dorsey, whom Friedgen compared to Domonique Foxworth in terms of character, has a toe injury. (NY) DL Joe Vellano, son of former Terp DL Paul Vellano, reinjured his surgically repaired shoulder and will have surgery this week. Friedgen didn’t comment about their status for spring practice.
Of the remaining fourteen signees, Friedgen was particularly enamored with (MD) DB Cameron Chism who he called a “shutdown corner”, (CT) DL Masengo Kabongo, who speaks four languages, (MD) RB Davin Meggett, son of former NFL player Dave Meggett, an honor roll student of whom he said something to the effect of “I‘ve learned that if they’re fast and smart, I gotta take ‘em”, and (MD) WR Kenny Tate of whom he gushed about his unselfish play and character as a person.
Milford Mill High DL Teddy Dargan, who committed to play for Maryland almost a year ago, did not sign with the Terps today, supposedly due to academics.
Maryland had three players who had made verbal commitments during the recruiting process change their minds and go elsewhere. (DC) DB Tavon Wilson to Illinois, (PA) DE Tyler Urban to West Virginia and (MD) LB Zach Brown to North Carolina.
When asked about verbal commitments, Friedgen commented that they were more like “reservations” with players expecting schools to hold a scholarship for them while they look around for better offers.
Friedgen mentioned that the ‘08 squad will feature twenty one senior scholarship players and nine senior walk-ons, the majority of whom are on track to graduate.
Recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo answered questions from the media after The Fridge stepped aside.
Both Friedgen and Sollazzo are proponents of an early signing period.
Sollazzo mentioned that they want to focus their recruiting effort within a 5 hour radius of College Park and would like to do a better job in Pennsylvania, particularly the Pittsburgh area.
Maryland has added three new coaches since the end of the 2007 season.
James Franklin has returned to College Park to be the offensive coordinator. His recruiting areas will include PG County, DC and Baltimore. Sollazzo stated that coordinators have more work to do than other coaches and typically recruit closer to home.
Special teams coach Danny Pearman takes over Ray Rychleski’s territory of North Carolina (which he has recruited extensively during stops at Va. Tech and Duke), West Virginia and Northwestern Maryland.
Newly hired wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn will handle the state of Pennsylvania, focusing on the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. Sollazzo describes Dunn as “very outgoing and personable”.
The Byrd Stadium renovations have begun. Parts of Tyser Tower have been removed and the scoreboard in the west end of the stadium is gone.