What I’m hearing: portal QB, flip target, new ’24 target

The latest notes I’m hearing just days away from the calendar turning to December:

On the portal front, there’s been a lot of smoke that originated on social media that Temple QB EJ Warner could be headed to Maryland. Warner could materialize into a portal target, but he isn’t the guy right now. Maryland is in evaluation mode of the long list of quarterbacks who’ve hit the transfer portal, a position that’s watched a ton of top-tier talent pour in even before the portal officially opens on December 4. Among the top available portal quarterbacks is Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, who Maryland recruited hard during the COVID cycle. Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri and Washington have already been mentioned but I’m hearing he’s on Maryland’s list. That pursuit will be tougher, and one thing to caution about the portal quarterback pursuit is the top-dollar price tag that comes along in the NIL era. One source added Maryland could find a portal guy “that is a competitor at QB who wants to come here and compete for the job because of Lock’s offense and the upside for him at the next level.” Even with chatter about a portal quarterback pursuit, don’t equate that to a lack of confidence in the post-Taulia Tagovailoa QB room with Cam Edge and Billy Edwards Jr. leading the way and in the mix for the starting gig with the beginning of bowl practices around the corner.

On the high school front, I continue to hear good feedback on Maryland’s chances of flipping Flowers (MD) three-star CB Braydon Lee from South Carolina as the Terps chip away. I’m hearing that he’ll be on campus the weekend of December 8 for his official visit, also known as the weekend prior to the early signing period. The relationship between Lee and cornerback coach Henry Baker has loomed large through the fall as Lee has made himself a repeated visitor in College Park through the weekend, giving the Terps ample chances to pull away. I’m cautiously optimistic on Lee and don’t anticipate changing his status on the big board until his December visit, but the Terps remain in a great spot down the stretch. I’m also hanging tight on Norland (FL) three-star Jeremiah Marcelin, for different reasons, as the Terps remain in a great spot with him. Norland is preparing to face Bolles (FL) in the state semis this upcoming weekend and recruiting isn’t at the forefront, but the Terps remain the team to beat with the ‘Noles primarily battling the Terps. Pitt still remains an unlikely final landing spot. It sounds like recruiting efforts with five-star Jordan Seaton are at a standstill heading in December, but St. Frances (MD) interior lineman Logan Bennett remains ‘hot’ on the big board down the stretch.

On the basketball side, 2024 recruiting has largely been at a standstill since five-star Derik Queen opted to prolong his recruitment beyond the early signing period, but the staff has circled back on one target over the last month. Maryland is back in contact with Mt. Zion Prep (MD) guard Malachi Palmer, a recruitment that began under former assistant Tony Skinn. Current assistant David Cox has picked up the recruiting efforts since, largely in part due to Maryland’s ability to watch the 6-foot-5 guard in person after a less-than-stellar showing in the EYBL. That’s changed in recent weeks as Cox has picked the pieces back up, and things were able to progress on Tuesday night.

Palmer, rated the 107th-best prospect in the 2024 class, visited Maryland for Tuesday night’s win vs. Rider, marking his first trip to campus since his visit for the Illinois game last season. Palmer was able to sit down with the staff following the win and moving forward, it sounds like the Terps will hit the reset button in his recruitment and begin a new push with Cox reigniting the charge. Palmer has already taken official visits to St. Louis and USF while Providence and Oklahoma State are also monitoring the local guard. Maryland made it clear to Palmer and his camp that he’s a priority target to close this cycle and should the Terps stay consistent with the pursuit, the Terps have a chance to close on the in-state target. Palmer’s decision timeline remains up in the air and a desire to take an official to College Park prior to a commitment is now in the cards. Palmer sits as ‘warm’ on the big board as head coach Kevin Willard remains on the hunt for his first commitment of the cycle.

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