Brandon Jacob to Maryland: how it happened, what it means, what’s next

Head coach Mike Locksley and the Terps added a big piece to its 2024 class when blue-chip safety Brandon Jacob announced his commitment to Maryland on Thursday night. Now up to 16 commitments in the class, Jacob had long been a Maryland lean as the Terps beat out a pair of local schools and SEC school for his commitment. We break down how it happened, what it means and what’s next:

How it happened…Maryland went the distance in its pursuit of four-star safety Brandon Jacob, but exactly how long were the Terps in the mix? For exactly two years and two weeks after former assistant Brawley Evans pulled the trigger on a verbal offer. Rarely do you see the first team to extend an offer end up winning out in a race, especially Maryland for an out-of-state recruit, but the relationships mattered here and outside linebacker coach James Thomas was a big reason why. Thomas, an alum of Evans High School (FL), had the relationships with Jacob and his family along with the support from key parties around Jacob to keep the Terps involved. The longtime mutual interest hit another level after Jacob made the trip north to watch Maryland’s season-finale win over Rutgers last fall, giving Jacob a clear picture on and off the field, but his trio of spring visits allowed him to gain comfort around College Park while he and safeties coach Zac Spavital chipped away at the relationship.

Miami (FL) and UCF were both heavily involved while the Aggies jumped into the picture in the spring to set the stage for his June official. The glitz and glamour out of College Station wasn’t enough to move the needle as Jacob’s family quietly took the Aggies out of the picture following the official visit. UCF was the biggest competition down the stretch and were the first school to host him for an official visit—and technically, the last to host him as Jacob and his team were on campus for a 7-on-7 tournament. But the Terps rolled out the red carpet during his June 16 official visit before he silently committed after leaving campus, promptly canceling his fourth and final official visit to Miami (FL). Now, Maryland has its out-of-state blue-chip recruit to lead the class with a likely possibility that he enrolls in January.

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What it means… Jacobs is a long, rangy athlete who plays multiple positions at Evans, giving him the ability to impact a game in a number of ways. He appears to have a very strong understanding of the free safety position. He reads, reacts, and anticipates plays very well. Jacobs plays like a ball hawk, meaning he always seems to be around the football. He uses his length to disrupt pass lanes, and also high point the ball over others. He’s tough to bring down in the open field after an interception, and given his great top end speed, he’s a threat to take it to the house if he gets his hands on the ball.

Maryland has a talented safety room, but the team has struggled to generate turnovers. The Terps ranked tied for 79th in Defensive INTs last season with 9. Jacobs would give the team a rangy, ball-hawk DB that has a knack for being around the football.

-Jake Hallet

What’s next…with one likely departing safety in Beau Brade following this season (still has a COVID year if he chooses), Maryland’s safety room is in a good spot with one commitment in four-star Brandon Jacob. Maryland is also involved with Mainland (FL) three-star safety E’zaiah Shine as UCF and Iowa State are in the mix heading into a fall decision, but Jacob’s commitment solidifies the future of the room as Glen Miller or former Miami (FL) DB Avantae Williams can step into the starting role in 2024 while Dante Trader Jr. would become the veteran along the backline. In terms of commitments, Maryland remains in good position for Cy Falls (TX) three-star tackle Samir Camacho heading into a summer decision while the Terps are positioning themselves with Highland Springs (VA) three-star QB Khristian Martin heading into an expected late July decision. Maryland is also working the close on Virginia receiver Mekhai White with bluebloods lurking in his recruitment. Sitting at 16 commitments, Maryland has a chance to approach 20 verbals heading into the season opener against Towson on Sept. 2.

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