A new coaching staff at a place like Maryland couldn’t ask for a much better start to its first full recruiting cycle than getting a local 5-star product to give a verbal pledge. That’s exactly what happened as this past weekend opened, with defensive end Josh Kaindoh giving his commitment to D.J. Durkin and the Maryland Terrapins.
It was the first sign that Durkin and his staff full of ex-head coaches and local DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) coaches is paying off. While some believed Durkin’s strategy to be bold, especially given all the egos and ideas involved.
However, Durkin also knew that kind of expertise and recognition on one staff could make a big difference in the area that would turn the Terps around quickly — recruiting.
Getting Kaindoh to verbally pledge while not in the DMV area and playing his football at IMG Academy in Florida certainly was a big win. It will help with recruiting the rest of the class, and having the lead DMV area player on board can only help keep the prospects interested as long as possible.
But, in terms of his personal recruitment, it appears Kaindoh is far from done on the recruiting trail. He has already let the Terps coaching staff know he will be taking some of his official visits in the fall.
Most likely to get those visits are Notre Dame and Penn State, and the latter should be of very big concern for Durkin and his staff. James Franklin has proven to be a force in recruiting New Jersey and the DMV area already while at Penn State.
Getting a win over the Nittany Lions early on would certainly set a major tone for Durkin and his recruiting abilities. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a big time recruit commit to the home team and still explore other options.
We saw this play out before, albeit under different circumstances, with prized quarterback recruit Dwayne Haskins. His recruitment may have been tied more to one coach than anything else at his home state school, but Haskins’ recruitment was far from over even if the former coaching staff stayed on intact.
It’s a lesson Durkin should have learned from, and having played in the big boy recruiting waters at Michigan, he is sure to not be blinded by a verbal pledge.
The real work for Maryland and Durkin begins now, but there is one thing really working in their favor and that is Kaindoh’s plan to enroll early. Getting across the finish line during the crazy period of January won’t be as big an issue.
For right now, it’s a win and Durkin and Co. have to strike while the iron is hot.