By Allene Abrahamian
What was a normal Wednesday for most was a great day for the Terps. National Signing Day, the day when the top college football recruits commit to a school, took place on Feb. 4.
Upon signing, athletes are in a binding agreement to attend the university with financial aid for one academic year. This was the case for 18 new recruits, nine of them being from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area.
The arrival of nine new players from the DMV area was no coincidence. The university has adopted the “DMV to UMD” movement, which has blown up on social media.
The movement began when Stefon Diggs decided to stay home in 2011 by picking Maryland over more than 25 schools that offered him a spot on their team, including powerhouses like Ohio State and Florida.
Diggs got the ball rolling on the movement and it is safe to say it has taken off. Prospective students, not only athletes, have been using #DMVtoUMD on Twitter to express their excitement for joining Maryland.
At a press conference held on National Signing Day, head football coach Randy Edsall raved about Maryland’s future and the success the DMV to UMD movement will bring.
“I’m thrilled about this group,” Edsall said. “It’s just a great group and one that is going to be really successful at the University of Maryland in every phase.”
“The thing that we wanted to do, we accomplished. We wanted to continue to build our team from the inside out and having been able to land the quality,” he said.
Adam McLean, a four-star recruit from Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, will be taking on the position of defensive tackle. McLean de-committed from Penn State and is one of Maryland’s top recruits.
“He has a passion for the state, he has a passion for Maryland and he has a passion for being here,” Edsall said.
“I’m excited to contribute to the team any way I can and just be a part of the university,” said McLean, ranked by ESPN as the 83rd best overall recruit in the country.
Ellis McKennie, another recruit from the DMV area, says he is excited for the big crowds and to be a part of an elite team.
“I think we have so much talent in the area, why not recruit from here? I think it’s going to be successful and in the right direction,” said McKennie.
The Owings Mills native said that Maryland was always in his vision.
“I always lived in the area, always saw Maryland on TV,” said McKennie.
Along with efforts to recruit from its surrounding neighborhoods, the university has been looking for quality players.
“17 of 18 of these young men were team captains,” Edsall said. “In this day and age, you’re always looking for young men who have those leadership qualities and have been in those positions before they get here.”
One unique quality that Terps have this year is family. The football team now has three sets of brothers in the program, according to Edsall. Isaiah Davis is one of the 18 new recruits, joining his brother Sean.
“I think that says quite a bit about what those families think of the program allowing their young men to come here,” said Edsall.
Looking to the future, Maryland recruiting will look to continue honing in on the DMV region. Next year’s recruiting season may prove to be a defining moment in Maryland football history, with an overwhelming amount of talent coming from the DMV region.
Most exciting for Terps fans is the potential to land four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins from Potomac, Maryland, currently ranked by ESPN as the second-best quarterback in the 2016 class, along with four-star wide receiver Trevon Diggs from Rockville, Maryland.
The speculation for these top-tier recruits is not unfounded for Maryland, as Diggs, the younger brother of Stefon, previously tweeted “We COULD make history #DMVtoUMD.” Haskins replied to Diggs’ tweet, saying, “history in the making!”
After a year of B1GGER hopes and expectations for Maryland football in their inaugural Big Ten season, the Terps may wind up doing the most damage by staying right here at home.