Intel: Maryland takes clear lead for four-star top target

Maryland is already up to 18 commitments in the 2025 class after in-state OL Amory Hills went public with his decision on Tuesday night, giving head coach Mike Locksley and his staff more juice when it comes to local recruiting. Maryland will look to continue that into the weekend with four-star defensive tackle Bryce Jenkins set to announce, one of two linemen set to announce within minutes apart on Saturday, but the Terps also remain the team to beat for another in-state priority in North Caroline (MD) four-star Zymear Smith, who officially backed off his pledge to Alabama on Wednesday.

That’s no surprise: the immediate intel coming out of his Maryland official visit was that Smith would take his time with the process, but July was the month to watch whether he remained committed to the Crimson Tide. Alabama carried immediate weight early in Smith’s recruitment when they offered and there was an outside, though realistic chance that if all went right on his first trip to Tuscaloosa back in March, the four-star athlete would pull the trigger on his commitment. That came to fruition with the Crimson Tide hoping to speed up his process, but the door was never completely shut in Smith’s recruitment as he maintained consistent dialogue with the Terrapin staff among others.

Concerns about what Alabama would ultimately look like under Kalen DeBoer lingered into the summer, while the distance away from home was a slight concern in his camp. It makes sense that the schools that Smith kept an open line with — Maryland, Penn State and Pittsburgh — checked those boxes that were uncertain for the Crimson Tide.

A source told IBG in June that the four-star had plans to officially visit Penn State, but that didn’t come to fruition. You know what visit happened, though? Zymear Smith’s official visit to Maryland the weekend of June 21, where the Terps rolled out the red carpet for their top target to retake momentum in his recruitment.

Smith was identified as a top in-state target early in the process and once co-defensive coordinator Aazaar Abdul-Rahim joined the program, Maryland moved full steam ahead to take a convincing early lead in his recruitment. Fast forward to June, and that same comfort and trust among the coaching staff and players remained prevalent throughout Smith’s official visit to College Park with the Terps emerging as the team to beat by the time his visit ended that Sunday, even with Smith’s verbal to the Crimson Tide in place. The in-state priority was initially a cornerback target but his recruitment has shifted where he fits the mold of a wide receiver, while his explosiveness has made him a candidate as a potential option as a returner once he arrives in college.

Now that Smith has backed off his pledge to Alabama, the four-star is still expected to remain patient with the process with his recruitment expected to continue into the fall, while a potential return to Maryland at the end of the month is on the table. Penn State is already kicking the tires and trying to get him on campus on July 27, but based on conversations with multiple sources in recent weeks, it’s Maryland who has taken clear control of the four-star’s recruitment heading into the rest of summer. With that, I’ve shifted the four-star to ‘hot’ on the big board, though this one will go longer than prior big board movers for the reasons mentioned to give Maryland a potential splash at the end of the cycle.

Zymear Smith is rated a composite four-star prospect, but is a three-star and an 89 overall by On3, checking in as the 13th-best prospect in Maryland.

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