Four-Star Quarterback Getting Comfortable in College Park

After time off on the schedule midway through the season, St. Frances stormed away with a 50-0 win over Arundel at home on Friday night. Four-star quarterback Mike Van Buren would only play one half though, throwing all three touchdowns to future Maryland receiver to put the game to rest early. The Panthers will head north this upcoming weekend to face St. Thomas More, but the four-star quarterback has quickly made a name for himself in his first full season as the starter.

“I feel like I’ve been playing decent. I came off this little break trying to play my best ball yet so had a good game last year so trying to just stack games,” he told Inside the Black and Gold. The 5-foot-11 dual-threat quarterback showed glimpses of his strong arm and dual-threat ability as a sophomore, sitting behind current Maryland QB John Griffith, but Van Buren’s ability to make throws on the run—and at times in the air—has made coaches across the country turn heads. Alabama, Oklahoma and Michigan are among the heavy hitters to offer while Penn State has hosted him several times, but Van Buren continues to be a familiar face in College Park.

After three visits dating back from spring to summer, Van Buren first visited for the Purdue game then made a mid-game arrival for the Terps’ homecoming win against Northwestern. “The atmosphere was great. The Northwestern great, the atmosphere was pretty live that game and they came out with a dub so that was a great experience.” Van Buren was always familiar with Maryland given the proximity to his high school, but there was an emphasis on learning more about offensive coordinator Dan Enos as the intricacies of the Terps’ scheme. His pair of gameday visits has given Van Buren an opportunity to see more and he knows he fits into what Locksley envisions.

“I feel like Taulia throws the ball around to his playmakers and he puts up pretty big numbers. I was talking with coach [Dan] Enos and he said he reminds me a lot of Taulia. He feels like I can really fit in his system and I agree with that, I think that system really fits me. Taulia also runs a little bit so my running ability will show too.” Inside linebacker coach Lance Thompson is also leading the charge as the area recruiter, but Van Buren had sit down meetings with head coach Mike Locksley during both visits.

“He told me I need to be down there every chance that I get, bring my family down there all the time and get to know the program. Just get this thing rolling, he pretty much tells me I’m his guy. He loves ballers staying at home, so that’s pretty much his main message to me. Why leave? Why leave when you can play ball in your backyard?”

Van Buren returned to Happy Valley over the weekend where the Nittany Lions gave up four fourth-quarter touchdowns before falling 44-31 to Ohio State. Still, Van Buren sees positives in the offensive style. “They’re moving in the right direction. They’re having a pretty good season, they just didn’t pull it out in the fourth quarter. Their playmakers got the ball. I feel like the offense is moving in the right direction for sure.”

Alabama is a school that’s been talked about in Van Buren’s recruitment, but Oregon also impressed when the four-star quarterback made the cross-country trip to Eugene. “Of course, the facilities at Oregon are top class but the atmosphere at the game was just, you’d think there were as many fans as a Penn State White Out game. That’s how loud it was. They won big against a top-ranked BYU team and the coaching staff shows a bunch of love. I really loved the Oregon visit.”

He has a rough idea of what his future visits look like and knows when he’ll be in College Park—for his own game and potentially a Terps one.

“Potentially LSU or Miami within the next couple of weeks. If not, I’ll probably take the majority of my visits right after the season. I’ll probably be at the Maryland game when they play Ohio State, that’s the day after we play IMG at Maryland so that’s probably another game I’ll be able to see.”

Van Buren is rated a four-star prospect and a 90 overall by On3, sitting as the 202nd-best prospect in the country.

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