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D.J. Durkin keeping local talent home at Maryland

Photo via Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports.com

When D.J. Durkin relinquished his job as Michigan’s defensive coordinator to become head coach at Maryland in December, one of the first orders of business was recruiting. Specifically, the new boss dug in to keep local talent.

The DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia) region produces some of the nation’s top talent. The pool is deep.

While the Terrapins reeled in their fair share of area athletes, too many got away recently. Durkin has reversed that trend, at least early on.

On the back of 10 DMV verbal pledges, Maryland’s 2017 recruiting class ranks 17th nationally according to Rivals and 247. Scout rates the group at 15.

While there’s still six months until signing day, the Terrapins are tracking upward in the world of prospecting. They’re currently ranked third in the Big Ten behind only Ohio State and Michigan per Rivals.

Oxon Hill (MD) Potomac High running back Tayon Fleet-Davis committed to Maryland at the end of July. The three-star prospect, who Rivals ranks as the No. 31 player nationally at his position, chose the home-state school ahead of reported scholarship offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, North Carolina State, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia and others.

“It was simply because it’s home and I trust and believe in the new staff,” the 6-foot, 215-pounder told Today’s U. “I believe in their plan to change the football culture at the University of Maryland. They bring energy and the scheme they have from an offensive stand point is attractive.”

Durkin learned under Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer of Ohio State. Expect the offense to spread teams out and utilize a power running game like the one the Buckeyes employ.

That sounded good to three area ’17 offensive linemen that chose to stay home. Owings Mills (MD) McDonogh High’s Jordan McNair turned down Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Marcus Minor of Hyattsville (MD) Dematha Catholic picked the Terrapins ahead of Auburn, Florida, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Three-star Johnny Jordan of Washington D.C. Gonzaga Prep also held offers from Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Four-star Quarterback Kasim Hill of Washington D.C. St. John’s College High passed on opportunities from Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Vanderbilt and others. Andrew Park (TE), Fofie Bazzie (DB), Camaron Spence (DT), Ayinde Eley (LB) and Deon Jones (DB) also stayed local.

If Maryland can keep up its push around home, a rise up the Big Ten standings could very well follow.

“If that happens, man, I don’t think we can lose,” Fleet-Davis said. “The talent we have in the DMV is incredible. We can compete with your Florida,Texas and Cali schools, honestly.”

Fleet-Davis is doing his part to help the cause.

“I’m just trying to get all the guys we can from the DMV, such as Anthony McFarland and Calvin Ashley,” he said.

McFarland is a four-star all-purpose back from DeMatha with offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and just about everybody else. Ashley, a four-star offensive tackle from St. John’s College High is verbally committed to Auburn and also holds opportunities from Alabama, Ohio State, etc.

Durkin hasn’t limited his reach to the region. His top-rated player in the ’17 class is Josh Kaindoh, a five-star defensive end from Florida who held offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC, among plenty of others.

D.J. Durkin keeping local talent home at Maryland

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