Ryan Howerton to Maryland: how it happened, what it means, what’s next

Maryland football is back up to 15 commitments in the 2024 cycle after Pallotti (MD) three-star offensive tackle Ryan Howerton announced his pledge over West Virginia, Pitt and Virginia Tech. The chance to suit up close to home loomed large in his recruitment, but how did the Terps do it? We break down how it happened, what it means and what’s next.

Maryland had been involved with Howerton since the beginning of his freshman season as the staff put him squarely on their radar, but it wasn’t until the fall of his junior season when the Terps interest picked up more. Howerton, now at 6-foot-5, 315-pound, made his way over to Maryland for at least two home games as former assistant Elijah Brooks began laying the foundation in his recruitment. The coaching change didn’t disrupt much, with Howerton still fond of the idea of playing closer to home along with offensive line coach Brian Braswell still involved with his recruitment. As Howerton continued to shine through the camp circuit, new tight ends coach Kevin Sumlin only increased contact as the mutual interest began to rise. Maryland was able to maintain momentum heading into the June 16 official visit, when Sumlin, offensive analyst Preston Brown and Braswell rolled out the red carpet both on and off the field. The Terps emerged as the team to beat, but still with plenty left to finalize prior to Saturday’s commitment and an official visit to Pitt looming. But it was West Virginia who finished a close second, even making a last-second push on Friday night, but the chance to be close to home and Braswell’s track record helped keep the Terps ahead. And it was no secret that both mom and dad preferred Howerton to pick Maryland. Howerton told the staffs involved in his recruitment late this week before going public on Saturday afternoon.

Howerton’s gradual ascension on the Terps’ board through the spring coincided with his consistent performance on the camp circuit. Howerton, who starts at right tackle for Pallotti, has the frame needed to become a Big Ten lineman and his thick lower frame and 83-inch wingspan gives him the power to overpower his opponents into the second level. Howerton’s footwork also sticks out for his 315-pound frame, while his hand placement helped him shine through both the Under Armour and Rivals camps, walking away with MVP honors in both. But when you ask those close to Howerton, it’s his athleticism that sticks out first. “To do pullups the way he does, to do crunches at 300-plus pounds the way he does, he’s athletically gifted,” one contact told IBG this week. Braswell will look to tap into that as he grooms his future bookend tackles, while Howerton is expected to enroll next June.

With Howerton now in the fold commitment, he becomes the sixth pledge along the offensive line this cycle. Maryland isn’t don’t at the position with Cy Falls (TX) offensive tackle Samir Camacho on commit watch heading into his birthday, August 28. Maryland has positional versatility with some of its current commits, such as Mike Hershey who drew interest along the defensive side of the ball, but the trait that Howerton shares with the rest of the commits is their athleticism for their size. Maryland will go the distance with IMG Academy (FL) four-star guard Jordan Seaton with a long list of blue bloods involved, most notably the Crimson Tide, as they restock the unit. Maryland has also kept tabs on a number of targets who could materialize into fall or December visits, including University Christian School (FL) tackle Benndy Ambroise and St. Mary’s (MD) tackle Davon Watkins, but six commitments in the fold have addressed the biggest position of need this cycle.

Who could be next to join the fold? Evans (FL) four-star safety Brandon Jacob sits as ‘hot’ on the big board heading into his commitment on Thursday, July 20.

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