Calvert Hall HC Josh Ward breaks down Maryland verbal JT Taggart

Despite transferring into Calvert Hall (MD) from American Heritage (FL) ahead of his junior season, Calvert Hall head coach Josh Ward knew Maryland needed to keep three-star tight end JT Taggart close to his new home.

“He’s an in-state guy now for the last two years and couldn’t let him go elsewhere since he’s here now at Maryland playing,” he told IBG.

JT will now play for the university just 40 minutes away from where his dad, Willie Taggart, will coach as the Terps entered the weekend with a chance to reel in the 6-foot-7.5, 229-pound tight end as assistant Kevin Sumlin led the way. “[JT] came to me a couple of weeks ago and said he really liked Maryland,” Ward added. After Sumlin’s interest through Taggart’s junior season materialized into a verbal offer at the start of the 2025 cycle, Maryland’s ascension for the local athlete was evident as he got more comfortable with the program while West Virginia and Colorado were the primary contenders.

It took roughly 24 hours into his first visit before Taggart pulled the trigger on his commitment. “As soon as I got there, it just felt like home. Really easy place to be,” he told IBG.

Taggart has since canceled his visit to Colorado and ended contact with West Virginia as he inches closer to becoming the third MIAA tight end in as many cycles to head to Maryland, joining AJ Szymanski (Loyola Blakefield) and Preston Howard (McDonogh).

“Love sending kids in-state, staying at home at Maryland because we want to see them be very successful, we want to see coach [Mike] Locksley be very successful,” Ward added. “And it’s awesome because our tight ends coach, Bernie Fiddler, his position coach at Maryland was actually [Mike] Locksley. I know [JT] texted him and he was really excited to have one of his position guys play for his coach.”

Taggart’s growth through football is clear where his length and size has made him a mismatch at the high school level, while the new Maryland verbal will also line up on the defensive side of the trenches again as a senior. “His intelligence is there. He knows how to use leverage. He’s very smart, great leader. I’m excited to see his growth this year as a senior,” Ward said.

But with a volleyball and basketball background, Taggart’s athleticism has never been questioned.

“The biggest thing — and I think what schools were worried about — was his size and being able to block but I think the guy, it’s going to naturally come with gaining more weight. Again, he’s very young in his craft and I think at the end of the day, you can’t teach size and I think once he puts on weight, I think naturally he’ll become a very good blocker in the tight end game. I think that’s always the worry with guys when they have those tight ends — yes they can catch and they’re athletic, but at the end of the day, you need to block to be able to run the ball. I definitely think he’s been working at that and once he gets that down, he’s going to make some unbelievable plays in the pass game but you always need to be able to block.”

Ward also gave his take on talks from fans that Taggart could transition into an offensive tackle at the next level.

“To hear about tackle is funny, the kid was a tweener between wide receiver and tight end and over the last year, since after the season when we had a sit down and talked, he really bought in to being a tight end. I think that will be his position. He’s just so naturally athletic. I think once he bought in, he’s 230 [pounds] right now, we’ll get him to 240 in the season and I think by his sophomore season at Maryland, he could be 260. He’s just athletic enough to block in the box but also be wide. He’s in the box for us but we really never line him up with his hand down. He’s more in the hip. He’s just scratching his potential. I think he’ll be a dominant force for Maryland. They’ve gotten two very good athletes in him and Preston [Howard] from McDonogh so I think Maryland is going the right way where they’re just getting those athletes, putting weight on them and let them be very, very athletic tight ends.”

Taggart now gives the Terps their third pledge from Calvert Hall in as many cycles, joining DL Daniel Owens and walk-on WR Ricardo Cooper, but Maryland will look to add to that number this upcoming weekend when defensive lineman Asaiah Allan-Hamond and athlete Alijah Hamond make their way to College Park.

“Asaiah, natural size-wise, he’s a special talent but I think Alijah, he hasn’t scratched the surface with his potential. He’s still kind of finding his way. He’s playing outside linebacker for us, I think that might naturally be where he lands at the next level.”

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