VIP: Derik Queen watch, new flip target, front seven recruiting

Maryland football hits the road on Friday as they prepare to take on Northwestern, while basketball awaits news on its top 2024 target as fans are on Derik Queen watch. The latest notes coming out of the football and basketball recruiting trail:

After Queen refuted his coach’s quote that Friday is commitment day, the priority five-star target has remained quiet as he and his camp remain in decision-making mode. Indiana made the trip to Montverde to meet with the five-star center on Tuesday, while Maryland rolled four-deep on Wednesday in the final meeting before departing that evening.

While the timing of Derik Queen’s commitment date proved to be incorrect in Zagoria’s report this week, I am hearing that it’s Indiana proving to be Maryland’s biggest threat down the stretch with head coach Mike Woodson also making the trip to Montverde this week. The Hoosiers have long been a top competitor in the Queen chase with two officials to Bloomington, just like College Park, and a committed teammate keeping them in the conversation while Woodson’s NBA history remains a key selling point. Rockets and former IU guard Victor Oladipo also chipped in on the recruiting efforts on Thursday.

Still, Maryland has checked all the boxes for Queen and mom coming out of his official visit as Willard and assistant David Cox have spearheaded collective staff efforts to close on the Baltimore priority. The desire to return closer to home has loomed large since Queen made the move to Montverde and coming out of the official, that sentiment remains as the buzz still has Maryland as the team best-positioned down the stretch.

As for when Derik Queen ultimately makes his decision, one local contact tells IBG that he could ultimately take his recruitment through the end of the early signing period, which is Nov. 8-15, as he and his camp work to finalize the closing stages of the pursuit.

Meanwhile, ’25 McDonogh guard Mason Ellison unofficially visited Maryland on Thursday as he and his parents took their first-ever visit to Maryland, touring campus before checking out Thursday’s near-two hour practice. Assistant Greg Manning Jr. extended the offer last week after watching the 6-foot-4 guard practice last week, but Ellison got a chance to meet each coach one-on-one ahead of practice as the local guard solidifies himself on the Terps’ 2025 recruiting board.

“Every second, every minute of the two hours was intense, high energy, lots of talking on the floor. They’re looking like a well-oiled machine already. The practice environment was even better so I loved it a lot.”

On the football side, Maryland has been in contact with Norland (FL) cornerback Jamari Howard after he backed off his Michigan State pledge over the summer. Howard was considering a visit to Maryland, though that didn’t come to fruition. Florida State grabbed his attention during his visit for the season-opener and has been able to maintain the buzz through the fall. Maryland made the top five for Howard earlier this week, but his recruitment with the Terps hasn’t materialized through the fall and I like the Seminoles to land his pledge with Jeremiah Marcelin still very much in play for both the Terps and ‘Noles.

While Maryland has South Carolina verbal Braydon Lee among their top flip targets with less than two months until signing day, there’s still one safety spot in the Terps class as the Terps also jumped into the mix for Mizzou verbal and Valley (AL) three-star safety Cam Dooley with several teams working to flip him down the stretch. While E’Zaiah Shine still on the radar, Dooley is a candidate for a postseason official visit in College Park with analyst Marcus Thomas leading initial efforts. The defensive line also remains a primary focus down the stretch as Maryland jumped in for Washington four-star verbal Dominic Kirks and are pushing for a postseason official, while they’ve connected with Hutch CC Danny Saili following his decommitment from Oklahoma. Saili was slated to officially visit Maryland over the summer before a Sooner offer created a 180-degree flip in his recruitment. Maryland also extended an offer to fast-rising local four-star Lugard Edokpayi out of Bishop McNamara (MD), but I’m hearing the Terps’ pursuit has been slow since then with Minnesota, Florida State and Texas A&M heavily involved. After circling back with local contacts heading into November, I’m also not optimistic about the chances that ‘Noles pledge and local edge DD Holmes turns the tide and gives Maryland serious reconsideration.

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