Mervo HC Patrick Nixon on Justin DeVaughn: “he’s just scratching the surface”

Head coach Mike Locksley landed his first public commitment from the first official visit weekend after Mervo (MD) three-star Justin DeVaughn announced his decision, just hours after connecting with head coach Mike Locksley following his 48-hour official visit to College Park.

Locking down one of the top in-state athletes and one of the fastest prospects this cycle was a focus for Maryland since the 2025 cycle kicked off, but it took a bit of time for the Terps’ efforts to pay off in the spring. After former assistant Gunter Brewer initiated interest last fall and began building a relationship with DeVaughn, a 6-foot, 180-pound wideout, his departure left a brief void in DeVaughn’s recruitment with the home team in holding pattern. After offensive coordinator Josh Gattis picked up the pieces and began leading the Terps’ push, the hometown team gradually became a bigger contender in his recruitment.

“That was a big difference, just the last push,” Mervo head coach Patrick Nixon told IBG. “They had gone through some coaching changes throughout the recruiting process with Maryland, they switched a few other coaches, but when [Josh Gattis] really took over the process, it kind of solidified it. He was adamant that he wanted the best talent to stay home but Justin just really appreciated the fact that he was consistent.”

Minnesota had made themselves a contender through the spring while Syracuse was in the mix for a June visit. “A lot of people thought because my brother is the OC [at Syracuse], he was going to go there but I told him go where the interest is,” he added. “Once they got locked in and it was stable, I think Maryland was in a really good spot for his services.”

As for what he brings, DeVaughn’s two-sport background paints a clear picture: speed.

DeVaughn is coming off a spring track season where he finished first in high jump, long jump, 110-meter 39-inch hurdles and 300-meter 36-inch hurdles, along with posting 11.22-seconds in the 100 meter dash back in April.

“When he gets locked into playing football, even though I know he’s doing track – the reality is it’s going to be hard to play both,” Nixon added. “I know has a knack for track and he’s definitely a track kid, but I’m excited about the fact that I’m seeing the transition from his focus being from track to football right in front of my eyes. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can do when he fully gets locked in with football.”

With DeVaughn expected to enroll next summer to begin his college career, he’ll get a chance to do what his siblings did in college while his dad also leads Mervo’s track team. Justin’s oldest sister, Channell, ran track at Xavier. His older brother, Vaughn, currently runs track at Alabama State; and his sister, Dominique, is a freshman on Towson’s track team.

Maryland football is no stranger to two-sport athletes as Dante Trader Jr., one of the top lacrosse prospects out of McDonogh (MD), suited up for head coach John Tillman for one season. Meanwhile, DeMatha (MD) three-star Bud Coombs is currently committed to Maryland for both baseball and football. While he has the green light, whether the Baltimore speedster becomes a two-sport athlete in College Park is up to him.

After flashing as a defensive end on JV as a freshman, DeVaughn transitioned over to wide receiver as a sophomore while he was also named special teams MVP. “You don’t win special teams MVP as a sophomore without being physical, being able to get down the field, block,” Nixon added.

With the upperclassmen gone and one season at the position under his belt, DeVaughn’s junior season showed his potential as a Power Four wide receiver.

“Explosive. He’s physical too. He’s not the traditional receiver. He likes to get hit, likes to hit people. He’s well put together. His mentality is physicality but he’s very, very explosive and obviously really fast,” Nixon added.

“He really locked in and took off. He’s just scratching the surface. This kid can be out of this world once he 100% gets locked into football.”

Justin DeVaughn is rated a three-star and an 89 overall by On3. He became the seventh commitment in Maryland’s class, joining Bud Coombs, CJ Smith, Kahlil Stewart, Braheem Battles, Julien Horton and Jett White.

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