Maryland has a pair of safeties in the 2023 class already committed in the class but they’re looking for at least one more in the class with experience a preference. That’s led the staff to Coffeyville safety Bishop Fitzgerald, who assistant coach Wes Neighbors has been in consistent contact with through the fall.
Fitzgerald returned home to Dale City, Virginia ahead of Thanksgiving to give him a chance to spend the holiday with his family. While the 6-foot, 190-pound safety returned to the area, that also gave him a chance to make the 35-minute trip to Maryland on Tuesday where he, his mom and high school coach were able to see the facilities and meet with the staff. “They showed me around the facilities, took a little photoshoot, was around a lot of the coaches. That was the most important part, getting my family around the coaches and being around them. My mom liked it a lot,” Fitzgerald told Inside the Black and Gold.
Safeties coach Wes Neighbors got a chance to spend one-on-one with his top target. “Coach Neighbors was telling me a lot about how he coaches, some of the players, where he was at before at a lot of his previous stops. He was at Bama, so was coach Locks so that was good.” He also got extended time with head coach Mike Locksley. “He was telling me a little ‘why Maryland’ and he was telling me a bit about how I’d fit in the scheme, what type of guy would fit into his program.” Fitzgerald breaks down his fit.
“They told me they can see me playing a little safety, a little nickel too. I catch punts at my junior college right now so he said I could do a little bit of that. From what he’s heard from my head coach and one of the recruiting coordinators there, coach [Gary Wortham Jr], he told [Locksley] that I’m a hard worker and a natural leader and that’s what this program needs because they’re right on the verge of being great. They just need a few more guys.”
Fitzgerald was also thoroughly impressed with Jones-Hill House. “The weight room was crazy. They showed me the technology on it, and just the environment. Walking in the building, they were so welcoming. Everyone is like a family there, like the head coach. He’s a great guy, I like him a lot.” While that caught his eye, it also adds another element of intrigue to his next trip to campus. “That was already amazing from what that was, so just the campus and stuff next so I can’t wait to see that on my official visit.”
December 9 is the weekend that Fitzgerald is targeting to officially visit Maryland, but that’s contingent on his playoff schedule. Coffeyville will travel to Hutchinson this Saturday for the first round of the playoffs. A win would mean Coffeyville is back in action next week, possibly pushing his official visit to December 16. “It’s not locked in yet because we’ve got playoffs but if we don’t make it, we’re definitely locked in for the 9th. Maryland definitely is going to get one.”
What makes Fitzgerald certain that the Terps will get a follow-up visit?
“I feel like they’re doing a very good job of making me feel at home.”
After being named to the All-KJCCC first team, Fitzgerald finished with 34 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.