One day after Maryland announced the hiring of Mike Locksley as a football coach, many of Terrapins' current and former players rented the move as the program geared up to quickly strengthen a coaching staff and recruitment efforts that have been pending for months.
Sports director Damon Evans is scheduled to meet football staff on Wednesday afternoon, according to a person close to the situation. It is unclear how many staff members of former coach DJ Durkin could be kept.
While the signing period begins in two weeks, Maryland has only eight rookies engaged in its 2019 promotion, which ranks 85th nationally and last among the Big Ten, according to 247 Sports. Locksley, Alabama's offensive coordinator, will split his time between Crimson Tide and Terrapins in the college football playoffs, according to a close-to-the-person. Thus, Locksley will have to balance his recruitment efforts for Maryland with the preparation of his Alabama offense for the playoffs.
A handful of current Maryland players, including offensive midfielder Anthony McFarland, offensive lineman Ellis McKennie, wide receiver Darryl Jones and defensive lineman Adam McLean, have been supporting Locksley on social media.
"I know my boys are happy !!" tweeted Tre Watson, a qualified linebacker who led the defense in his only season in Maryland. "Right the ship and let's win. The team to do it is sitting in the locker room. "
Locksley is from Washington and previously held two assistant positions with the Terrapins. He worked as a running back from 1997 to 2002 and returned to the position of offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2015. He has been Acting Head Coach for the last six games of the 2015 season after Maryland's dismissal of Randy Edsall. .
Because of Locksley's ties to the program and his strong reputation as a recruiter in the region, many former Maryland players know Locksley and supported the decision.
"We are just happy that he had the opportunity to claim what he has put in as much time, energy and effort," said the lineman offensive Damian Prince, who has just finished his senior season and has already played for Locksley in Maryland. "He started coaching here in the late '90s. I feel as if he was kind to him. Now he can run the program as he wishes.
As a high school student, Prince remembers seeing Locksley in the hallway of his school. At the time, he did not know if Locksley knew who he was, but Prince certainly knew Locksley, who was the head coach of New Mexico at the time.
"He is somehow the godfather of college football in this region," Prince said. "It's the respect he holds."
When Locksley joined the Maryland staff in 2011, he became Prince's main recruiter. Prince grew up in southeastern Washington and was confident about Locksley's character based on what he had heard from community members. When Prince, a five-star rookie, arrived at College Park, he stated that Locksley had facilitated his transition to the university.
After Maryland hired Locksley on Tuesday night, Prince tweeted that Locksley was "exactly what the team [needs]Jermaine Carter Jr., former Maryland linebacker with the Carolina Panthers, responded that Maryland "needed this three years ago", recalling how the school hired Durkin in Locksley in 2015.
Durkin was fired on October 31 after being placed on administrative leave in August following the death in June of 19-year-old offensive line player Jordan McNair, who suffered heat stroke during the summer break. a team training session. The team was led during the season by interim coach Matt Canada, who, along with Michigan assistant Pep Hamilton, was one of three finalists for Locksley's position.
In New Mexico, when he was the only former head coach, Locksley was sacked four times in his third season after a 2-26 record and many problems out ground. Nevertheless, many believe that Locksley's recruiting capacity will help Maryland attract some of the best high school students in the region over the next few years. Adam Friedman, recruiting analyst for Rivals in the Mid-Atlantic, said the relationships Locksley would establish with potential players have more weight in their decisions than Terps' win-loss history.
Coaches from some of the best high school programs in the Washington area believe Locksley will be able to quickly convince recruits.
Although the hiring comes fairly late in the recruiting cycle, Elijah Brooks, DeMatha's coach, said that Locksley's history in the area would make him think that "the weather has not changed. # 39; importance. " Brooks, who has sent several players to Maryland over the years, said the school is making the right choice and there is more "freedom" when it comes to recruiting in the DMV.
"Everyone will have to check now that he is the manager," Brooks said.
A good coach, Andy Stefanelli, described Locksley as a player trainer able to enter the rookie lounge with confidence to convince them and their parents that Maryland is their program.
"You want a guy who can come in and be kind to them and be that guy," said Stefanelli. "It's the Mike Locksley I know. Children will love him, parents will trust him.
Stefanelli said the hiring not only stabilized the program, but also strengthened the recruiting ground for local recruits. That Maryland, which has averaged less than five victories per season over the last decade, become a school to which children will flock in the coming years remains to be determined.
"People outside the DMV will not have it, but the people there will definitely do it. Especially his former Terp players, "Scott Van Pelt, ESPN's Maryland graduate, tweeted Tuesday night." Unparalleled local respect among local HS coaches, it can help heal and unite factions like no other. "
Samantha Pell contributed to this report.
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