VIP: three things I know, three things I think

We bring back the fan-favorite article where we break down three things we know, three things we think. The latest:

I know that…

  • While Spalding (MD) cornerback Jayden Shipps did show up on NC State’s official visitor list heading into the weekend, optimism remains low he ends up taking the trip to Raleigh beginning Friday morning. One local contact reiterated uncertainty about Shipps visiting any other school following his Maryland official, while another closely involved in his recruitment said the plan remained for Shipps to stay local this weekend. While head coach Mike Locksley and his staff have a good chance to add to their seven-man recruiting class this weekend, the Terps continue to trend clear of all final hurdles after an A+ official visit last weekend.
  • The final scholarship spot remains a hot topic for head coach Kevin Willard and Maryland basketball with the portal thinning entering the summer. After getting involved with Chaz Lanier (Tennessee) and Lucas Taylor (Syracuse), Maryland was in contact with former Mississippi St. guard Shakeel Moore before Kansas swooped in for the portal commitment – on the same day that it was announced Elmarko Jackson would miss the upcoming season due to injury. Former Wake Forest guard Damari Monsanto has continued to float around as a potential piece, but his status remains in holding pattern with plans for a visit on hold. Whether Maryland pulls the trigger to fill its last spot now remains to be seen with minimal movement to do so.
  • The race for Spalding (MD) quarterback Malik Washington heats up this weekend as he heads north for his second official visit of the month and third in the process with an official set to Syracuse. The Orange have made it clear they’re rolling with two quarterbacks this cycle and have prioritized him since Fran Brown took over as head coach, while Syracuse has looked to capitalize on their deep ties throughout the DC-Maryland area. But for now, the plan remains for Washington to keep next weekend open before returning to College Park for the final weekend, setting the stage for the final two visits in his recruitment. UCF was the first visit of the month as they pointed to the athletic quarterback being Gus Malzahn’s version of Cam Newton for the Knights, an intriguing fit for a quarterback who’s shown most efficient in the pocket over the last two seasons. Whether Washington opts to venture out to College Park for a quick unofficial next weekend remains to be seen but plans to return to Blacksburg also remain up in the air.

I think that…

  • While Auburn rolled out the red carpet for SFA four-star CB Blake Woodby last weekend, the local cornerback held true to his plans and kept his recruitment open into the rest of June with Cincinnati now next in line to host him for an official visit. A source told IBG that the Tigers remain a prime contender in his recruitment, but there are no plans to make any rash decisions after coming off his parting of ways with the Buckeyes. A fall decision remains on the table with tentative plans to visit Eugene in November while the four-star is set to officially visit Maryland at the end of the month. There are rumblings that the Tigers are the biggest contender but the longer his recruitment goes, the better for Maryland as they look to entrench itself as a top suitor this month with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim leading the way.
  • The battle for Bel Air (MD) and current Maryland pledge safety Julien Horton will be a tough one, but there’s optimism heading into next weekend’s official visit with no imminent plans just yet. Horton is coming off an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor after the Wolverines tracked him through the spring, materializing into an offer with an official visit on the table. But a source told IBG that it’s up in the air whether he makes his return trip this month, while the opening in his recruitment has kept North Carolina in the conversation as they get a shot to host him for an official visit. Horton will head to Maryland next weekend then North Carolina, but the Terps have multiple people in Horton’s camp advocating for the in-state standout to stay local.
  • There’s cautious optimism surrounding Quince Orchard (MD) four-star Iverson Howard, who has a tentative commitment set for June 18. Howard initially planned to officially visit Michigan this weekend, but that’s since been derailed with the Wolverines looking elsewhere at running back this cycle. For now, that helps Maryland with Florida State the main competition while a third school has worked to get in the mix, though mainly keeping it a MD-FSU battle. Howard made his way back to College Park for Tuesday’s 7-on-7 where the Cougars fell in the semifinals, but the four-star was able to reconnect with lead recruiter James Thomas and the rest of the staff. Howard’s commitment date is set for June 18 while his Maryland official is set for June 21, but multiple contacts continue to reiterate Howard still plans to take his official visit to College Park. While Maryland works to get its shot with the in-state running back, I’d keep tabs on Dunbar OT Josh Blackston for an official visit next weekend with Rutgers and Ohio State rounding out his top group, though buzz continues to surround the Buckeyes with the green light on for now. One target there’s optimism surrounding heading into his late June OV is Concordia Prep (MD) outside linebacker Sidney Stewart with Virginia Tech, who will host him this upcoming weekend, considered the top competition while West Virginia was the first to host him. A new out-of-state target to keep tabs on is Shadow Creek (TX) athlete Cameron Jamerson as Maryland works to get him on campus, though his June visit schedule is already filled out.

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