VIP: Maryland portal update, three sticking out for four-star, West Coast target

With transfer portal recruiting winding down and high school recruiting set to pick back up, the latest premium notes out of College Park:

I shifted former Buffalo lineman Isaiah Wright to ‘hot’ on the portal board last weekend and I still like his current status as Maryland remains well-positioned to address their biggest remaining need. The need to add at least one experienced lineman to the starting five was the top offseason priority as Maryland quickly moved on the potential Big Ten bounceback. Even with Maryland at the scholarship limit, I’d still eye another specialist in the portal and have heard former Oklahoma kicker Gavin Marshall surface as a possible target.

On the high school side, Maryland is nearing official visit season with a long list of top targets making their way to campus. While West Virginia is emerging as the team to beat for Good Counsel (MD) three-star Gavin Crawford with UCLA now the third school set to host him, Maryland is in the top group with another top local target. I’m hearing there’s a big push for Quince Orchard (MD) four-star running back Iverson Howard, who is focused on his three upcoming official visits: Florida State, Maryland, Michigan. Intel points to those three schools separating themselves from the pack with Howard eyeing a summer commitment. With Bud Coombs on board, Maryland has generated steady momentum in his recruitment since his mid-April visit that resulted in a set official visit for the June 21 weekend. While there’s room to shake up his three suitors, Michigan is also viewed as the perceived favorite heading into June after Howard made the trip to Ann Arbor for their spring game. But with Coombs on board, Maryland remains heavily in the mix for the prized MoCo standout while Howard’s parents are high on the Terps’ staff.

While Maryland is expected to host Dunbar (MD) offensive tackle Josh Blackston for an official visit the weekend of June 21, Maryland is also making a strong run at St. Cloud (FL) four-star Connor Howes, who also unofficially visited last month and admitted his first visit “surpassed” expectations.

“We had a good talk. I just enjoyed talking with them. I talked with the head coach after the scrimmage, but I was mainly talking to coach Merci [Falaise] the whole time. I sat in with the offensive line [meetings]. It was funny, when I’m sitting there with my mom, she doesn’t know what they’re saying but I understand everything they’re talking about. It’s really easy to catch on to how he coaches so I think that’s a plus.”

While Maryland has a steady and expected presence back in their usual footprint, there’s also a West Coast target to keep tabs on: San Ramon Valley (CA) four-star Marco Jones. Maryland made the trip out west to check on the 6-foot-4, 215-pound linebacker during the eval period, but the chance to play both football and baseball also resonates in the Terps’ chances. Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Oregon are also in the mix but Jones has visited College Park in the past and the consistency has kept the Terps in the picture. When an official visit will materialize remains to be seen with four officials already set to the four mentioned schools, but one contact involved in his recruitment was bullish on the Terps’ chances of securing an extended visit. Maryland made the top ten for Jones last month, while the four-star called Locksley an “iconic coach” after a two-day trip.

“I felt like they had a really strong bond as a coaching staff. I feel like the things they have in store for the future here, they’re going to be coming up hot. I had great conversations with them. They think I have a lot of versatility and I can be a really good edge rusher and I play well in space,” Jones said at the time. “I definitely think they get the point across that they’re very interested in me but also they’re not just trying to sell Maryland. They’re shooting the truth, the good and bad, so I get the realest of the real. There’s a lot of schools out there that only sell you the good stuff and not the bad stuff, how they’re trying to fix it, which is more important than the good.”

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