VIP: Maryland’s Offense for 2023 Filling Out Through the Portal

Maryland has wrapped up its first post-bowl official visit weekend where the staff saw NCCU offensive lineman Corey Bullock flip his commitment from Cincinnati to Maryland on Sunday afternoon, hours after telling Maryland he planned to follow through with a flip. Bullock fills one of two vacant starting spots along the offensive line as Bullock will take over as a guard, but Maryland isn’t far off from finalizing its lone remaining starting spot.

Maryland is trending as the clear team to beat for Frostburg tackle Gottlieb Ayedze following the weekend, who would fill in as a tackle, and a decision isn’t far off either. While assistant Elijah Brooks paved the way for Bullock, head coach Mike Locksley has navigated the pursuit of Ayedze with former Northwest head coach Mike Neubeiser playing a key hand in his recruitment. Having Kaden Prather, his former HS teammate, host him only bolstered Maryland’s chances as they worked to close. Ayedze officially visited Virginia Tech and Ohio State worked itself into the conversation, but for Ayedze, staying closer to home was a focus as Maryland had the first chance to bring him home—just like they did with Prather. While Jaelyn Duncan will give Maryland its first lineman drafted since 2019, Ayedze’s potential could make him Maryland’s second consecutive starting left tackle to reach the NFL.

Maryland also hosted Jackson St offensive lineman Willis Patrick this weekend, who followed through with a visit to College Park without his parents. A decision is expected on Monday and Maryland finishes as the runner up with TCU trending. Meanwhile, former Bowling Green OL Jalen Grant did not make it in after the staff flirted with a last-second visit in the event Bullock stuck with Cincy.

Nonetheless, Maryland on the cusp of filling its starting offensive line has helped replenish the talent for offensive coordinator Dan Enos in 2023. After losing three starters to the NFL, ironing out the protection was a key question this offseason for quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and his family. While Taulia is still expected to suit up for a fourth season in College Park, the portal activity helps to address that exact need to provide the offense needed stability. With Taulia expected back, I also expect WR Jeshaun Jones will be back for a sixth season to anchor another deep wide receiver room. Jones has been a mission for Locksley this offseason and while Locksley addressed specific questions both on and off the field with Jones and his mom, Taulia’s decision helps to move the needle for a return next season. I expect to hear a decision from both this week.

Maryland did manage to get former Florida CB Jordan Young on campus and after a weekend with new cornerback transfer Ja’Quan Sheppard as his host and assistant Henry Baker leading the way, there’s confidence that Maryland will be the ultimate pick. Maryland was able to make up the needed ground this weekend to challenge Missouri for the veteran cornerback as the staff has a chance to pull off a third commitment this weekend. A decision from Sheppard is expected this week. Maryland will likely keep ETSU CB Marquez Henry on the back burner as the staff has an ‘in’ with Georgia CB Jaheim Singletary to potentially get him on campus, but Young has first priority as the staff closes in on addressing its biggest position of need.

While Maryland finalizes the secondary, Maryland has also been in contact with former Georgia OLB MJ Sherman who visited Nebraska over the weekend. He could have mitigated some concerns with Maryland’s outside linebacker room with veteran OLB VanDarius Cowan not expected to return in 2023, but Sherman committed to Nebraska on Monday morning. Cowan had a potential sixth season available with a medical redshirt on the table, but hearing that won’t come to fruition as Locksley and the staff are focused on developing the new wave of talent.

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