Maryland football OV primer: QB Malik Washington

Maryland will welcome its top target to campus for the latest visit this weekend as Spalding (MD) three-star quarterback Malik Washington hits the road for his fourth and final official visit. We take a look into his recruitment:

Top schools: Maryland, Syracuse, UCF, Virginia Tech

Background: a two-sport athlete, Washington has steadily been tabbed as the top quarterback in the region since he arrived at Spalding. And since taking over the starting job as a sophomore, Washington has been everything and then some for head coach Kyle Schmitt after guiding the Cavs to back-to-back MIAA championships. His basketball background with Team Melo already showcased him as an athletic prospect, leading many to think Washington is a natural dual-threat quarterback, but he’s proven to be the opposite over the last two years. While Washington is well aware he’s able to use his legs to either extend plays or pick up necessary yards on third down, he does his damage in the pocket. His pocket awareness has been steady and is evident by the lack of negative plays in Spalding’s offense, but his accuracy and reads have been most impressive as he develops as a quarterback. To hear Washington’s football IQ stands out isn’t surprising though – local scouts have long pointed to the type of questions that Washington asks during trainings and practice as proof he’s capable of quickly grasping new concepts. His feel for the game is evident by his efficiency through the air, where he’s accurate on his short and intermediate throws and has proven to have the arm strength to hit the deep ball. Washington threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns to 17 interceptions over the last two years, but a number of those interceptions have come off dropped or tipped passes. Personally, I can count the number of bad throws I’ve seen from Washington on one hand over the last two years. Now training with Aaron Campbell, who is also working on Spalding’s offensive staff, Washington is dialing into the details of his mechanics but the potential as a 6-foot-4 quarterback has caught the eye of college coaches throughout his high school career. Washington punched his ticket for this week’s Elite 11 Finals after punching an overall score of 111 at the State College camp last month.

Skinny: Maryland and Virginia Tech have been the constants in Washington’s recruitment ever since it began. Virginia Tech jumped in with the first offer two years ago before Penn State and Maryland followed, placing the three regional schools in the mix since then. For Maryland, they’ve zeroed in on Malik Washington ever since the start of his junior season as coordinators Josh Gattis and Brian Williams paved the way with Locksley himself heavily involved in his recruitment. Maryland-Washington buzz began picking up during his junior season when the four-star quarterback made himself a frequent visitor in College Park, getting a chance to acclimate himself with the ins and outs of the program while recognizing his own fit and potential in an attractive offense. That buzz continued into the end of his junior season as the hometown Terps were doing the best in his recruitment and Washington eyeing a potential spring commitment. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, remained a factor in the spring and wanted to get him on campus as soon as possible for an official visit, leading to the mid-April visit for the Hokies’ spring game. Virginia Tech rolled out the red carpet as he remained a viable target for head coach Brent Pry the rest of the cycle, but the emphasis was getting Washington back on campus in June for a second visit. That visit never materialized. UCF was the first school to host him for an official visit where Washington got a chance to experience a different atmosphere before heading to a school a bit more familiar in his recruitment – Syracuse. Head coach Fran Brown and the Orange have and will continue to make the DMV a focus in their recruiting efforts as Washington was the top guy for them through the spring, but the Orange were always the wildcard in his recruitment. Washington flirted with a potential visit to Baylor for his available June 14 weekend, but opted to stand true to his original visit plans and take the weekend off ahead of the Elite 11. After arriving in Los Angeles on Tuesday for the Elite 11 finals where he’ll look to cement himself among the nation’s best, and when he wraps up, he’ll take his fourth and final official visit – Maryland.

Washington is among the list of priority targets set to arrive in College Park on Friday as head coach Mike Locksley and the staff look to close out his recruitment. The confidence in Maryland’s pursuit has been steady since the spring as its been clear the Terps have been the team to beat (no, not Virginia Tech because they never led). Maryland will look to close out his recruitment this weekend to give themselves a program-changing quarterback ahead of Washington’s commitment on June 28.

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