Area schools hold breath on NCAA's big day

Area schools hold breath on NCAA's big day
February 3, 2011, 12:02 am
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011 7:07 PM

By Rich Tandler and Sebastian Salazar
CSNwashington.com

Maryland

Maryland's 2011 recruiting class figured to be one of the most interesting storylines of the spring. How potential recruits would react to the sacking of Ralph Friedgen and how Randy Edsall would deal with a bunch of players he hadn't handpicked himself were questions that loomed large in College Park Wednesday morning.

Edsall said in an interview shortly after his hiring that he would indeed honor all of the commitments made during the Friedgen era. The resulting FriedgenEdsall class delivered five offensive linemen to help add some depth to the unit protecting Maryland's newest most valuable asset, quarterback Danny O'Brien. Maryland also addressed a specific need on special teams, where punter Nathan Renfro of Brentwood, Tennessee was brought in to compete for the spot left vacant by the departure of Travis Baltz.

Maryland loaded up in the secondary, adding five defensive backs, including perhaps the Terps' biggest land of the day. Three-star recruit A.J. Hendy, who had committed to Maryland but reopened his recruitment after the departures of James Franklin and Friedgen, decided to stick with the Terps over Iowa. Locally, Quince Orchard High School (Gaithersburg) linebacker Alex Twine is a two-star recruit who could really impress with his play-making ability once on campus.

For a complete list of Maryland signees, click here.

Virginia

Although Virginia lost out on the biggest prize it was eyeing on Signing Day, Mike London and the Cavaliers cant help but be delighted with the class they landed. According to some observers, the class could end up being ranked in the top 20 in the nation.

Curtis Grant, a Parade All-America linebacker from Richmond, had Virginia as one of his two final choices, but he went with Ohio State. Even without Grant, however, the Cavaliers did quite well. Virginia did land another All-American in cornerback Demetrious Nicholson from Virginia Beach. London has said that all freshmen wouldnt automatically be redshirted and that some would compete for playing time. Certainly, Nicholson will be on the list of those who will be given a good shot at a spot on the defensive depth chart.

Other players from theESPNU Top 150 who signed with the Cavaliers are running back Clifton Richardson (No. 142) and cornerback Brandon Phelps (No. 135). Again, these top talents should get the opportunity for some playing time, as London and the Cavs rebuild after a 4-8 2010 season in which they were just 1-7 in the ACC.

The Cavaliers landed four of the top 10 players in the state according to the rankings of the Roanoke Times. London viewed these signings as significant.

When a player comes, a community comes, said London. "And the young man that's growing up watching, he watches you go back and forth from home with that V-sabre and that cap and that gear, and the TV coverage that the local people give you because you're an in-state player. It becomes significant, and if you can do that throughout the state, it raises your profile."

You can see Virginias entire recruiting class of 26 players on its athletics website.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech lost two top players the Hokies thought they had, but overall they were happy with the 20 they signed on Wednesday.

"We're really pleased with this class," coach Frank Beamer said. "It's a solid, good class with a lot of players who have great potential. In a year that we had limited scholarships, I'm happy we were able to add some quality recruits late in the process. We look forward to getting these guys on campus and to begin working with them."

One of the decisions that didnt go the Hokies way was that of quarterbackLafonteThourogood out of Tidewater. He backed out of an earlier oral commitment to Tech and signed a letter of intent with Vanderbilt. Also, five-star linebackerStephone Anthony chose Clemson over Virginia Tech on live TV.

The Hokies' highest-ranked recruit was defensive tackle Kris Harley from Indiana, ranked No. 142 on theESPNU list. Beamer spoke particularly highly of cornerbackKyshoen Jarrett and receiver Robert Lockhart. He also said of defensive end Corey Marshall, Id put him up against anyone in the state.

TheHokies signed a total of 20 players, including cornerbackAdeboye Aromire, who already is enrolled at the university. You can view the complete list at the Virginia Tech athletics website.