Four-star Jeff Exinor down to final two ahead of Friday commitment

McDonogh (MD) composite four-star Jeff Exinor wrapped up his second and final official visit of the month and now, he shifts his attention to closing the book on a near three-year recruitment.

Exinor, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound athlete, tells IBG he’s down to a final two with Maryland and Penn State in the mix coming out of his official visit to College Park. “I really decided I’m going to announce [on Sunday]. I’m really torn between Maryland and Penn State,” he added.

Exinor is plenty familiar with Maryland having made his way to campus for countless unofficial visits through the years and building a strong connection with assistant Brian Braswell, but the extended stay gave him a glimpse into a different side of the program.

“Normally I just see the football side but it was great to see the academic side and how the players actually live,” he said. “They gave me a real vibe for what Maryland is. I’ve been up there but I’ve only been to the game, I’ve only been to the facility. I never really knew how they operate and now getting a chance to see the behind-the-scenes. I really like it a lot.”

He details what he learned about the program.

“The community service, I didn’t know they required you to do that for NIL. The internships, the fact that it’s in DC. They help build a resume for you by setting you up with internships, a mentor. Just seeing how they live on a day-to-day basis.”

Former teammate and longtime friend Preston Howard filled in as Exinor’s host, where he got a chance to hear again why Howard chose to stay home out of high school.

“For him, he just felt like it was the best place for him and it was close to home which mattered a lot to him. It really fit his vibe, fit him. It’s hard to explain, but he was just telling me he felt like he can be himself. Out of any school, that was the place he could be Preston. And coach [Mike] Locksley helped him with that too, being himself with a majority-black coaching staff where he can chop it up if he really needs something. That was important to him.”

While Exinor was initially viewed as a potential tight end, getting the chance to sit down with head coach Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis offered clarity into his potential fit.

“They say big receiver. It’s hard to tell what my body is going to do, especially in college on that nutrition plan and weight lifting plan. We don’t really know how I’m going to shape out so coach Locks and coach Gattis said you’re a big receiver, whether that means you line up on the outside or you grow a couple of inches and we put you as a tight end. They want me as a pass-catcher, playmaker because I feel and they know the best me is when the ball is in my hands and I can make plays.”

Exinor didn’t have much time to rest after his official visit to Maryland, hitting the road to suit up for McDonogh at MD Live, but the idea of staying home stuck with him. Now down to a final two, Exinor pointed out “there’s good things about Penn State that Maryland doesn’t have and there’s good things about Maryland that Penn State doesn’t have.”

“With Penn State, I go there and it’s a top-ten program already that’s built on being a top team in the country. And they’ve proven to be that every year. You’ve got that aspect. And I also like the idea of Maryland and helping build a national championship team. It might take time but I’m still debating.”

Exinor knows he’d be a big piece in the next wave of Mike Locksley’s foundational class alongside other visiting targets like Malik Washington, a rival on the field but close friend off the field. “The whole weekend, we were entertaining if we come here and the kid Iverson [Howard], maybe Sid [Stewart] too, get some real guys on this class to build a championship team. We were entertaining it all week.”

Exinor emphasized he’s “torn” as he now turns to his family and coaches the rest of the week before finalizing his decision set for Friday. “Of course, I’ve got my decision. This week I’m going to talk to my family about it, that’s really big for me. Just think about the pros and cons, really dig deep. Really make this four-year decision because I don’t want to be a portal kid. I’m not committing for money, for a guaranteed roster spot. I want to be at a school where I can be for four years and achieve my goals and make it to the league.”

He doesn’t have a set commitment time for Friday but aims to announce it in the afternoon.

Jeff Exinor is rated a three-star and an 88 overall by On3, checking out as the 14th-best prospect in Maryland.

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