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Terps draw a line with latest recruiting class

February 05, 2009

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Coach Ralph Friedgen said he felt good about Maryland's recruiting class coming into this week. The Terrapins had verbal commitments from 24 players, including a handful of consensus prep All-Americans.

However, Friedgen got a phone call Tuesday night that ended the 2008-2009 recruiting campaign on a high note. St. John's-D.C. offensive lineman Peter White contacted Friedgen to report that he had picked the Terrapins over Miami and Tennessee.

"When Pete called and told me he was going to be a Terp, it just made my day. I immediately let out a loud yell," Friedgen said. "This is a big-time player we've been recruiting for three years. That was a great way to finish off this class."

White, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound behemoth, is rated the nation's fourth-best offensive guard by Scout.com. He was listed as the No. 1 overall prospect in the District of Columbia by Rivals.com and played in the prestigious Under Armour All-American game.

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"When you look at (White's) highlight tape, it's jaw-dropping. He is so explosive and just blows guys off the ball. He is a real road grader who just engulfs people," Friedgen said.

White was an important pickup because the offensive line was a position of need for Maryland with this recruiting class. The Terrapins landed four offensive linemen, including a highly regarded tackle in Pete DeSouza of DeMatha Catholic in nearby Hyattsville.

Friedgen called DeSouza, who chose Maryland over Atlantic Coast Conference rivals Virginia, North Carolina, N.C. State and Miami, an "imposing physical specimen who has good feet and agility for his size."

Friedgen felt Maryland also did a good job of addressing a lack of depth at the defensive line and linebacker. Cody Blue and Zach Kerr, both of whom re-signed with the Terps after spending this past fall at Fork Union Military Academy after failing to qualify academically in 2008, have begun taking classes at the College Park campus and will be eligible to participate in spring practice.

"This class fills a lot of our needs at linebacker, as well as along the offensive and defensive lines. I think we put together a very big, strong and powerful recruiting class," Friedgen said. "I think we have a bunch of big, athletic players who can run and hit."

Maryland is also depleted at linebacker due to graduation, attrition and injury, Friedgen said. Two of the program's top recruits at that position - Darin Drakeford of Theodore Roosevelt in D.C. and Avery Murray of West Florence High in South Carolina - have also enrolled at the university. They are among eight linebackers signed by the Terps on Wednesday.

"Its a big addition to get those two guys in here early. They have a great chance to get into the two-deep," Friedgen said. "The reason we recruited a lot of linebackers is because we lose so many. I'm excited that we got some linebackers that can come in and challenge for playing time."

With 26 total players, it is the largest recruiting class of Friedgen's eight-year tenure at Maryland. It includes 15 players from the Maryland-D.C. region, which Friedgen partially attributed to the return of James Franklin. He developed strong ties with high school coaches in the region while serving as recruiting coordinator for the Terps during a previous stint as an assistant.

"We really put a lot of stock into trying to recruit the local kids. James coming back has helped that quite a bit, although if you look at the last eight years we've done pretty well in this area," Friedgen said. "From day one I said I wanted to recruit this area very hard and I have."

Some of Maryland's most highly regarded prospects hail from in state. Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel, Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins, Forestville defensive end DeOnte Arnett and Edmondson defensive end David Mackall joined White in being rated as four-star recruits (on a scale of five) by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Maryland's other four-star recruit is running back D.J. Adams of Norcross, Ga. Adams, who was rated the No. 22 overall prospect in talent-rich Georgia by Rivals.com, had 33 scholarship offers and listed Boston College, Clemson, Mississippi State and Notre Dame as the other finalists.

Maryland's class is ranked 25th and 26th in the country, respectively, by Rivals.com and Scout.com, the two most prominent recruiting evaluation services.

Penn State covers all of its bases

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State landed the perfect complements for its quarterback of the future: A mammoth offensive tackle and a tall, speedy receiver.

Quarterback Kevin Newsome is already wearing blue and white, having enrolled at Penn State this semester after finishing high school early.

Come fall, he'll be joined by 6-foot-7 tackle prospect Eric Shrive and 6-foot-3 receiver Justin Brown - two of the high school seniors who cemented their commitments to the Nittany Lions on Wednesday, the first day that recruits can sign national letters of intent.

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