Analysis & impact: QB Malik Washington to Maryland

The long-awaited recruitment of Archbishop Spalding (MD) quarterback Malik Washington is officially over as a two-year recruitment ends with the prized local quarterback staying home, committing to Maryland over a final group including Virginia Tech, UCF and Syracuse.

Maryland zeroed in on Malik Washington as their top target at the position ever since the 2025 cycle began taking form with area recruiter and defensive coordinator Brian Williams taking the reigns, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis building a strong rapport with the top target and his family while head coach Mike Locksley remained an active piece in his recruitment throughout, especially since the fall. Speaking of the fall, that’s when Maryland really made their move as Washington and cornerback Jayden Shipps, who also announced for the Terps today, became frequent visitors in College Park through conference play. The chance to get comfortable around both the program and offense, along with strengthening his relationships with the staff helped identify the Terps as a primary player in his recruitment.

Penn State was viewed as the top competition through Washington’s junior season, but buzz that the Terps moved into pole position came to fruition once Spalding wrapped up its second consecutive MIAA championship and the four-star paid his recruitment more attention. Even with a quarterback in the fold, the Nittany Lions maintained lukewarm interest through the spring before Washington opted to prioritize the schools who prioritized him. After delaying his timeline from mid-April to June to take a full slate of official visits, Washington took that next step in his recruitment. Virginia Tech, who technically offered first, was a big player as the Hokie staff worked to get the four-star on campus as quickly as possible. That generated brief momentum for Virginia Tech, but was still not viewed as enough to seriously challenge the Terps. Once the calendar turned to June, the consistent buzz was that Washington was enjoying the process before zeroing in on his Maryland official visit.

That official visit to Maryland last weekend went as expected, which is stellar. The local quarterback opened up to his natural self where, in addition to four-star Iverson Howard leading recruiting efforts, he got a chance to gauge the potential class around him. More on those recruiting efforts next, but the Terps were able to close out his recruitment by Sunday as they begin putting the rest of the 2025 class together.

So, what is Maryland getting in Malik Washington the player?

The short answer to describe his skillset is simple: an athletic, mobile quarterback with an advanced football IQ who looks to do his damage in the pocket. You don’t have to turn on his football tape to recognize his athleticism after Washington led Spalding’s basketball team as a junior where he averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds while posting 13 double-doubles en route to the MIAA-A conference finals.

The short description is similar to former Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa who was a master within the Terps’ scheme, but Washington’s improved athleticism and unmatched size is the driving force in his potential to become the best quarterback of the Mike Locksley era.

The junior quarterback completed over 62% of his passes on 195-of-313 for nearly 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns to just nine interceptions, while adding another 225 yards on the ground with six rushing touchdowns as Spalding had no problem sending Washington through the trenches inside the opponent’s five-yard line. Washington went on to be named The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year, then winning the 2023-24 Baltimore Sun boys Athlete of the Year this past week, but the chance to prove himself on the national stage was a chip still left on his shoulder. At the Elite 11 regional in Happy Valley last month, his accuracy and zip were on display despite undesirable conditions, setting the stage for his finals invite where he entrenched himself among the nation’s best last week.

It’s been noted that Washington’s football IQ has turned heads from local coaches and trainers through the years and it’s translated through his first two seasons as Spalding’s starting quarterback. Washington’s bad throws are far and few as the four-star does well staying patient in the pocket to go through his progressions while avoiding negative plays within Spalding’s offense. Between the accuracy and zip on his intermediate throws to the soft touch to his receivers downfield in stride, Washington’s arm talent is a perfect fit in Maryland’s offense while his dual-threat ability and plus-size at 6-foot-4 gives him a chance to step in and take over the quarterback room as an underclassman.

How soon Washington takes over will be interesting. While some were quick to point out what Taulia Tagovailoa didn’t do during his time as a Terp, what has never been doubted was his knowledge of the offense, schemes and concepts. Washington is expected to arrive on campus in June 2025 while, like several other in-state and regional signees in years past, becoming a frequent visitor on campus through 2025 spring ball is always on the table. Whether Washington manages to beat out the room as a true freshman is a tall task that the driven, humble pledge will look to conquer, but there’s never been much doubt that Washington has been viewed as a multi-year starter for the Terp – a belief that extends from Jones-Hill House to the local ranks. And with a potential cornerstone now in the fold, along with Jayden Shipps now in the fold, Maryland has plenty of juice on the recruiting trail as the staff looks to put the finishing touches on the rest of the class.

Maryland was among the finalists for McDonogh (MD) four-star Jeff Exinor, who is set to announce at 7 PM with Penn State and Virginia Tech rounding out his top group. Penn State retook a comfortable lead in his recruitment after his early June official visit before Maryland posed a threat coming out of his June 21 official, pondering the possibility of the two MIAA stars teaming up together in the Big Ten. Penn State has maintained confidence into Friday, though, as the Nittany Lions look to keep the McDonogh pipeline alive in the ’25 cycle.

Maryland will look to keep the good news rolling into Saturday as offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has led the way with Monsignor Bonner (PA) three-star WR Jalil Hall with West Virginia the main competition, while Maryland is also surging again for North Caroline (MD) four-star and Alabama verbal Zymear Smith and the addition of Malik Washington only adds fuel to the Terps’ flip efforts as the two in-state targets developed a quick rapport during last weekend’s official visit. The Crimson Tide are now in danger mode to keep Smith on board as the hometown team has his full attention, though his recruitment is still expected to head into the fall. There’s also confidence in Maryland’s chances with Norcom (VA) four-star WR Matt Outten with Penn State viewed as the top competition with Virginia Tech and Syracuse rounding out the top group ahead of an expected July decision.

And while fans are keeping close tabs on how Maryland’s offensive line unfolds in the 2024 season, the staff is working to add more offensive line talent with a pair of linemen – Ben Beymer and Lamar Williams – already in the fold. Salem (VA) four-star OL Jaylen Gilchrist has the Terps entrenched in the top group with Maryland coming off a stellar visit and buzz that they’re challenging South Carolina for pole position in his recruitment. Washington and Gilchrist were able to connect during their official visit this past weekend as Maryland points to the offensive line of the future with Gilchrist and Terez Davis becoming integral pieces for the program. Gilchrist has bunkered down into decision mode since his Maryland official, but the Terps are working to keep him local with Washington only adding fuel to the fire.

Maryland could also see movement on the defensive side of the ball with targets. St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) inside linebacker Travares Daniels went public with his commitment on Friday, committing to the Terps over Georgia Tech among others, while Spalding DL Delmar White is still expected to announce his decision on Friday. In-state outside linebacker Sidney Stewart is set to announce on Saturday with Indiana, West Virginia and Virginia Tech rounding out his top group while four-star defensive lineman Bryce Jenkins and four-star safety Messiah Delhomme are eyeing summer commitments and have the Terps entrenched in their top groups. Maryland has a slight edge over Tennessee for Jenkins, while another Maryland-Virginia Tech battle is brewing for Delhomme.

I’ve been consistent since the 2025 class picked up that this cycle has the potential to be Mike Locksley’s best class from top to bottom. With 15 commitments in the fold, official visits complete and more commitments expected through July, it’s shaping up to be exactly that led by a collective, balanced staff effort.

Related Links

Spalding CB Jayden Shipps goes public with Maryland pledge
Four-star QB Malik Washington commits to Maryland, breaks down decision
Florida LB Travares Daniels commits to Maryland, breaks down decision
Former Maryland guard Jahmir Young agrees to deal with Denver Nuggets