Maryland will cement a strong 2017 recruiting class on Wednesday during National Signing Day.
The Terrapins’ 16th-ranked class is easily the best that D.J. Durkin has assembled since he took over as head coach on Dec. 2, 2015, and includes seven 4-star commits and 29 players in total.
The crowning jewell of this class was a late addition: local product Anthony McFarland Jr. chose the Terrapins Friday afternoon via a video on Twitter. The 4-star running back from Demartha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., chose Durkin’s program over Alabama and Miami, saying that he would rather create his own legacy than join one.
With McFarland’s commitment, Maryland landed three of the top five commits from the state, including 4-star cornerback Deon Jones and 4-star offensive guard Deon Jones. McFarland’s commitment also pushed the Terrapins class up three spots in the 2017 rankings from No. 19 to No. 16 — jumping over Virginia Tech, UCLA and Stanford.
The class could still slide up or down the national lists today, with a few top uncommitted recruits considering Maryland, and few commits who may be risks to sign with other teams at the last second. Signing day should certainly be interesting for Maryland this season, and could further solidify this class as one of the best in the nation, or wind up being a bitter end to an otherwise successful recruiting cycle.
Below is a list of each Maryland commit in its 2017 class, including their positional ranking, star rating, hometown and more. The Terrapins probably won’t add any additional players on signing day, but we also have a schedule of targets who will announce Wednesday.
Be sure to check the live blog below for continuous updates throughout signing day.
Maryland 2017 recruiting class, rankings
|4-star RB||Anthony McFarland Jr.||3||Hyattsville, Md.|
|4-star CB||Deon Jones*||22||Oxon Hill, Md.|
|4-star ATH||Markquese Bell*||7||Bridgeton, N.J|
|4-star OG||Marcus Minor||13||Hyattsville, Md.|
|4-star QB||Kasim Hill||10||Washington, D.C.|
|4-star OT||Jordan McNair||31||Owings Mills, Md.|
|4-star DT||Cam Spence||19||Washington, D.C.|
|4-star DT||Breyon Gaddy||20||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|3-star OLB||Ayinde Eley||26||Olney, Md.|
|3-star RB||Javon Leake||9||Greensboro, N.C.|
|3-star WR||Sean Nelson||92||Fairburn, Ga.|
|3-star DT||Brandon Gaddy||49||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|3-star WR||Jayden Comma||96||Roswell, Ga.|
|3-star DE||B’Ahmad Miller||33||Baltimore, Md.|
|3-star CB||Fofie Bazzie*||68||Gaithersburg, Md.|
|3-star ATH||Jalen Browder||54||Dallas, Ga.|
|3-star CB||Alex Woods*||13||Scranton, Pa.|
|3-star RB||Tayon Fleet-Davis||40||Oxon Hill, Md.|
|3-star WR||Carlos Carriere||107||Alpharetta, Ga.|
|3-star C||Johnny Jordan||10||Washington, D.C.|
|3-star CB||Kenny Bennett||96||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|3-star TE||Andrew Park||48||Burke, Va.|
|3-star DE||Tyran Hunt*||53||Courtland, Va.|
|3-star OLB||Bryce Brand*||82||Concord, Calif.|
|3-star WR||M.J. Jarrell||165||Orlando, Fla.|
|3-star DE||Kofi Wardlow||64||Washington, D.C.|
|3-star ILB||Nick Underwood*||8||Riverside, Calif.|
|3-star DE||Lawtez Rogers||67||Greenbelt, Md.|
|2-star K||Jonathan Doerer||16||Charlotte, N.C.|
What is Maryland’s recruiting class ranked?
Early enrollees: 7
5-star commits: 0
4-star commits: 8
247Sports composite ranking: 16
Big Ten ranking: 4
Maryland 2017 signing day schedule
Two of Maryland’s top remaining targets are expected to make their decisions on signing day. Tariq-Castro Fields, a 4-star Maryland corner is expected to decide between Maryland, Penn State and Alabama.
The other is 3-star safety Naytron Culpepper, the No. 32 safety in the nation from Miami Carol City in Miami, Fla. Culpepper is deciding between USF and Maryland predominantly, with Michigan State, South Carolina and Oregon all somewhat in the mix as well. Culpepper also took an official visit to Kentucky on Jan. 27, so that’s another school to look out for.
Maryland National Signing Day preview, storylines
How many of these freshman running backs will make an impact in year one?
Maryland all of the sudden has an incredibly strong group of running backs joining the ranks in this class, obviously highlighted by Anthony McFarland Jr. However, both Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis are solid backs as well.
Leake is the No. 9 all-purpose back in the country according to 247Sports, and racked up more than eight yards per carry during his senior season with Greensboro (N.C.) Page. Leake rushed for 1,643 total yards and scored 29 touchdowns.
Fleet-Davis, the No. 40 ranked running back in the country, totaled 1,398 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns for Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac.
All three of these recruits could fight for touches this fall, with both Kenneth Goins Jr. and Trey Edmunds finishing their college football careers last season. Goins Jr. played in all 13 games for the Terps, while racking 241 rushing yards on 41 carries. Edmunds was right behind him with 158 rushing yards on just 26 carries (6.1 yards per carry).
The Terrapins finished second in the Big Ten in rushing yards per carry (4.9) last year in offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s first season calling the shots. Maryland finished fourth in the conference in rushing yards per game (199.5), but they certainly have the talent coming into the program to make advances in that department next year or in the near future.
Can the Terps haul in another late, in-state recruit?
One of Maryland’s biggest remaining targets is Tariq Castro-Fields, one of the top uncommitted cornerbacks in the nation. Castro-Fields is a 6-foot-1, 4-star recruit from Upper Marlboro, Md., and put Maryland among his final three schools along with Big Ten rival Penn State and regular recruiting power Alabama.
Castro-Fields announced last week that he won’t make his decision until signing day, so his commitment will be one of the bigger storylines for Maryland on Wednesday.
The Maryland recruit is the 8th-best prospect in the state, and a commitment to the Terps would give Durkin six of the top 10 recruits in his school’s own state. Castro-Fields is rated the No. 33 cornerback in the nation.
A commitment from Castro-Fields could push the 2017 cornerback class ahead of the running back group for the most exciting position group, as Maryland already has 4-star CB Deon Jones, 3-star CB Fofie Bazzie and 3-star CB Alex Woods on campus as early enrollees. On top of those three, the Terps also have the commitment of 3-star CB Kenny Bennett.
That number of committed corners could wind up hurting Maryland’s chances with Castro-Fields however, and the Nittany Lions have been extremely active in recruiting him of late. He took an official visit to Penn State on Jan. 13 and then had an in-home coaching visits from the Lions coaching staff on Jan. 17 and again on Jan. 27.
247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions give Maryland a 21 percent chance of landing Castro-Fields and give Penn State a 74 percent chance.