VIP: Weekend Updates, Monday Visitor, Basketball Rolling

It was a busy weekend in College Park with two basketball games, a thrilling showdown versus second-ranked Ohio State and a busy weekend of recruiting with one month until national signing day. Maryland basketball will return to action on Friday with football looking to end its three-game slide against Rutgers this weekend. Meanwhile, the football program will have a key target on campus on Monday as we delve into the latest from College Park:

Ohio State fallout…Maryland football had chances to pull off the victory on Saturday against second-ranked Ohio State, but saw the lead slip away in the second half despite a valiant effort. There’s disappointment that the Terps couldn’t pull off the upset, but confidence in the locker room heading into this weekend’s finale versus Rutgers. Heading into the game, there was a heightened sense of urgency to get both sides of the ball back on track after the humiliating loss at Penn State the week prior. Even head coach Mike Locksley cited the team meeting on Monday as a key moment to move forward, which helped ease mounting frustration on the offensive side of the ball. Maryland will still get a chance to pull off a win on senior day this Saturday, which would mark the first time since 2014 that the Terps pulled off seven regular season wins. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was transparent postgame that he didn’t believe his injury to be serious and that’s consistent with feedback on Sunday as the veteran QB is expected to start in the regular season finale.

Maryland basketball rolling…it’s hard to feel anything other than enthusiastic with consecutive wins against Saint Louis and Miami (FL) to move to 5-0 given what the Terps have shown. Maryland struggled from three in its games against Western Carolina and Binghamton but found its shooting touch through the weekend from beyond the perimeter, including shooting guard Don Carey who knocked down four threes in each game. One source said “what you saw from Don today is who we expected him to be” after Saturday’s performance, but the relentless style regardless of the score is in line with Willard’s intended style of play. With Maryland rolling on all cylinders, there’s confidence inside the locker room with the team getting Monday off for recovery.

Visitor weekend update…Maryland had another good group of visitors on campus with Hickory (NC) four-star athlete Rico Walker arriving Friday afternoon and staying through Sunday afternoon on an extended unofficial visit. Maryland stayed in the mix with Walker through his commitment to North Carolina and after backing off his pledge last week, the staff worked quickly to secure a visit this weekend. When he announces remains fluid, but Walker was shifted to ‘warmer’ heading into the weekend and nothing has changed since the weekend as I love where the Terps sit. He wasn’t the only four-star as Tennessee verbal Cam Seldon was back on campus, this time as a guest for his cousin Denzel Palmer’s official visit to Maryland. There’s a quiet confidence in his recruitment as Palmer’s potential PWO remains something that Seldon covets in his recruitment.

Safeties ‘crootin update…Maryland also moved the needle of NC State verbal Tamarcus Cooley, who was on campus through the weekend into early Saturday evening, and an eventual official visit is now expected with the Terps keeping him and Bishop Fitzgerald available for their two safety slots. Cooley is also teammates with Ohio State verbal and top-50 prospect Noah Rogers, who did not visit but remains a newer target for the staff. Cooley would fit the mold of a high school safety with a need for an experienced target, and that target is still Coffeyville safety Bishop Fitzgerald. He’ll return home on Sunday evening for the holidays this week and he tells IBG that he will unofficially visit Maryland on Monday. An official visit the weekend of December 9 is expected for Fitzgerald as the staff will get a chance to finalize tomorrow that tomorrow. Staff is also hopeful that Fitzgerald’s teammate and close friend Keyshawn Blackstock, an offensive line target, joins Fitzgerald the same weekend as the staff has been in daily pursuit through the fall.

Plans solidified for five-star…much like the rest of his recruitment, five-star athlete Nyckoles Harbor had several questions left to answer with his recruitment winding down but Maryland got a boost this weekend. Harbor made the trip to College Park with his mom and dad alongside him, arriving roughly an hour prior to kickoff and staying on campus well after the game was over. Harbor’s decision to stay through the game helped some of the staff turn to him and signify his importance on a handful of plays before the five-star reconnected with the on-field staff afterward. Confidence was fading in the early part of the season, but the staff has turned the tide over the last month and remains a primary contender. A source tells IBG that Maryland, Miami and Michigan are the three primary contenders as things stand with the Terps and Gamecocks battling for the top spot. The battle between first and second is closer than second and third at this stage, but Maryland’s potential on offense is what resonates while the strength of Maryland’s academics sits well with his parents, another reason why Michigan is still in the mix. Harbor’s official visit to Maryland the weekend of December 9 was initially expected to be the last visit, but that’s no longer the case as he’ll head to Georgia the weekend of December 17. The LSU official, meanwhile, will take place in mid-January and the Tigers are a wildcard given Harbor’s tight-knit relationship with LSU assistant Jamar Cain. A source also added that the potential midseason transfer to Flowers was very much on the table, but the differences between Harbor’s camp and his coaches were ironed out over time. Nonetheless, Harbor will follow through with a February signing as the staff will sweat out his decision a bit longer.

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