Maryland Hosting Portal Targets, Local Four-Star Ahead of NSD

Maryland will welcome its second and final official visit weekend before the early signing period. After the staff picked up a commitment last weekend from Cincinnati cornerback Ja’Quan Sheppard, Maryland enters the weekend with another chance to secure a commitment from the portal.

The headline visitor is former West Virginia wide receiver Kaden Prather. Maryland and Penn State were the two schools to watch coming out of the portal, but the Terps got the early start with a visit for Monday’s practice. An official visit for this weekend immediately started getting finalized, despite the Penn State staff altering visit plans in order to get him on campus prior to the dead period. With a desire to enroll next month, I love where Maryland sits in this recruitment heading into the weekend. While the former Northwest receiver almost entered the portal last spring as well, Prather was among the receiver targets the staff had their eye on heading into the offseason and one they’d love to close on this weekend.

He might not be the only portal commitment with Maryland well-positioned for former Miami safety Avantae Williams after outside linebacker coach James Thomas Jr. kicked off the recruitment and inside linebacker coach Lance Thompson going in-home this week. Williams will be one of two safety targets this weekend as Coffeyville safety Bishop Fitzgerald makes his long-awaited trip to campus, two days after unofficially visiting for the UCLA game, but Williams is more likely heading into the homestretch. Maryland is in a great spot with NC State verbal Tamarcus Cooley to fill the the high school slot, while Williams would fit the profile of the needed experienced safety after Isaiah Hazel hit the portal.

The third portal target on campus this weekend is FIU WR Tyrese Chambers, who opted to hold off on a commitment to Colorado in favor of visiting Maryland. If you remember his name from last offseason, you’ll remember the former Baltimore Poly receiver made it point-blank clear he has strong interest in wrapping up his college eligibility closer to home. While Chambers opted to return to FIU last season, the interest in playing at home remains true as head coach Mike Locksley has driven this recruitment this time. Both Prather and Chambers have the green light from the staff to give a verbal and Chambers is able to enroll next month.

Four-star outside linebacker Dylan Gooden will make his way to College Park this weekend as the staff has remained active in his recruitment. Ever since the former Good Counsel edge rusher visited back in late July, Maryland has kept the door open in his recruitment and maintained the relationship and Gooden returned the favor with a pair of late trips to campus on gameday this fall. Maryland has the inside track in a recruitment that also features Rutgers and North Carolina, but Gooden still has academic concerns to finish up as he’ll likely sign in February.

Meanwhile, Cheshire Academy defensive tackle Lavon Johnson will make his long-awaited official visit to College Park as the staff puts the finishing touches on his recruitment ahead of signing day. Johnson gave his verbal days after the staff extended an official offer in August and he’ll be a big piece to Maryland’s future at defensive line. Maryland was in to see him both last week and this week to check on him as they keep tabs on the current 2023 class.

*Bonus: with the staff working on several 2023 targets in the final days heading into the early signing period, Maryland has also gone in-home and stopped through the schools of its current 2023 commitments. After connecting with various contacts and the commits, I don’t sense much concern that any of the current commits that receive NLIs will end up being surprises on NSD. That includes commits like Dylan Wade, Derrick Rogers, Tayvon Nelson, Dillan Fontus and Braeden Wisloski.

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