Maryland pledge, target draw invites to U.S. Army Bowl

A pair of familiar names for Maryland fans made headlines this week after both Spalding (MD) four-star quarterback Malik Washington and Maury (VA) four-star linebacker Carlton “CJ” Smith were invited to the U.S. Army Bowl in December.

The third annual U.S. Army Bowl is set for Dec. 21 at The Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.

Maryland will now be represented for the second time in as many years after Brandon Jacob suited up in last year’s game while Maryland, also had three pledges invited to the 2021 game.

After announcing a final five with Notre Dame, Penn State, Alabama, Maryland and Miami (FL) involved, Smith opted to pull the trigger on the hometown team back in March and announced his commitment one day after taking a weekend visit to College Park with his family.

“He was excited. He said now we can compete for national championships. That’s the goal. We’ve got the players. We’ve got the resources. The Big Ten is probably the hardest conference now, so we’ve got an opportunity,” Smith said in March after giving Locksley his commitment. “He’s excited for me to be a piece to get that done.”

Washington’s invite comes days after shining at the Elite 11 in State College where he posted a 111 score, good for second-best among the quarterbacks in attendance behind 2026 DePaul Catholic (NJ) four-star Derek Zammit. Washington will also head to the Elite 11 finals this summer in Los Angeles after being recognized as a top performer.

Washington has already taken an official visit to Virginia Tech and has upcoming visits already set to UCF and Syracuse with Baylor lurking for the June 14 weekend. Maryland has made Washington a top priority since last summer and put the all-out pursuit on the local quarterback through the fall with coordinators Brian Williams and Josh Gattis leading the charge, as the duo and head coach Mike Locksley look to close during his official visit the weekend of June 21. Washington is set to make his commitment on June 28 once his official visits are complete.

Smith is rated a three-star and an 86 overall by On3, while Washington checks in as a three-star and 88 overall by On3.

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