Reporting Brendan Darr
Thursday turned out to be a good day for the Terps on the recruiting trail. The Terps landed 3-or-4 star (depending on which recruiting site you look at) RB Wes Brown out of Good Counsel in Olney, Md. Brown was rated much higher on scout.com – #9 RB in the country – than he was on Rivals or ESPN. Brown immediately will contend for the starting running back job against Sophomore Justus Pickett. However, I would say a lot of local media have blown this story grossly out of proportion.
I want to clarify before I really get into things: Wes Brown is a fantastic recruit, and by all accounts he was Vanderbilt’s to lose until Locksley came to Maryland. Mike Locksley is also one of the best recruiters in the country, there is no doubting this.
The problem we have here is one of overreaction and speculation. Many, including myself, said that Brown was a huge get for Maryland. It’s true, he’s a very nice addition to the 2012 recruiting class – a class that was ranked near the bottom of the ACC. However, his inclusion does not automatically mean the Terps are landing other top targets or contending for an ACC title next season. In fact, it just barely puts the Terps inside the top-50 classes according to Rivals and Scout (ESPN only ranks the top-25).
Maryland is ranked #43 according to Scout and is ranked #44 according to Rivals. Now I linked them to their ranks inside the conference, you’ll notice that both services have the Terps ranked #6 in the ACC after yesterdays commitment . It should be noted that Maryland didn’t move in Scout’s rankings after the commitment. However, if you look at the average rating for the prospects, you’ll notice the Terps tumble to #8 (Rivals) and #9 (Scout) in the ACC. So the Terps get their high ratings off of quantity, not necessarily quality – or perceived quality, as we really have no idea how these young men will perform at the college level. However, for a team that has lost eight players via transfer already, quantity was something they needed as well.
However, what people seem to be forgetting when they praise these signings – they are really hoping that because Zach Dancel transferred in he’d bring Wes Brown (by all accounts he did) and because Brown signs he’ll bring ATH Stefon Diggs or DT Eddie Goldman – both are considered top-10 players in the country. But what if Locksley just doesn’t have enough time to convince them to come to College Park?
There is no guarantee that Maryland is now a front-runner for Diggs or Goldman, but both are still considering Maryland. Thanks to Mike Locksley.
I think the biggest problem I have with everyone’s reactions to the Brown signing, and again this is not an indictment of Brown, but Maryland used to consistently be in or around the top-30 recruiting classes, and even with an additional 4-star signing can’t crack the top-40. From 2002-2010 Maryland’s recruiting class ranked 29th, 22nd, 16th, 25th, 27th, 48th, 52nd, 28th and 42nd. Randy Edsall’s first recruiting class finished 56th in the country.
People need to remember that this was a 2-10 team and that, before Locksley, had one of the worst recruiting classes by a BCS program. I’m sure there is no coincidence that since December 19th – when Locksley was first thought to be named the Offensive Coordinator – that four recruits for 2012 have signed on, and another player (Dancel, whose father, Bernie Dancel, “bankrolled” the Good Counsel football team) transferred in.
It can’t be understated how much Locksley is doing to help right the ship. Fans just need to remember that Locksley came in late and is playing catch up. Maryland can’t yet be counted out for some recruits left, but fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that they are a guarantee in College Park next fall. The Wes Brown signing is a positive sign of things to come, especially in local recruiting, but this rebuild will take time.