Terrapins play in talent-rich area

Tim May

No matter where prospects end up playing college football, most are proud of the place they left behind. It’s the same with Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. and the DMV.

That’s short for District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, considered to be a hotbed for recruiting. Haskins’ family relocated there from New Jersey when he was in the ninth grade to improve his football ability and visibility at The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland.

He could see the talent around him and on opposing teams. He labeled it “very good.”

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“Going across the country — California, Florida, Texas, and The Opening camps, Rivals camps — I would say we have a lot of good skill players there in that DMV area,” Haskins said this week.

At one point, he was intent on leading the charge to Maryland to make it a program reflective of the talent-rich area.

“I was trying to make that happen,” said Haskins, who committed to the Terrapins in 2015. “But people make their own decisions.”

He was one of those. When the Terps, who had fired Randy Edsall during the 2015 season, went on to release interim coach Mike Locksley in favor of DJ Durkin, Haskins opted out. He signed with Ohio State, and the rest is about to be OSU passing history with Haskins only 50 yards and two touchdowns shy of two season records: 3,330 yards by Joe Germaine in 1998, and 35 TDs by J.T. Barrett last season, entering Saturday’s game at Maryland.

Like a lot of his contemporaries who went on to Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State and other major programs, he flew the coop.

“So not everyone went to Maryland,” Haskins said. “But just that talent in that area floods a lot of schools in the country.”

Ohio State has been diverting some of that DMV talent for years, especially since defensive line coach Larry Johnson joined the Buckeyes in 2014. Before he became one of the more distinguished assistant coaches in college football, Johnson made a name for himself as one of the more successful high school coaches in Maryland at Maurice J. McDonough High School in Pomfret, south of Washington, from 1977 to ’91.

“Larry Johnson’s reputation in that area of the country is outstanding,” Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said. “When I say that is his primary recruiting area, I don’t mean that it is just the area assigned to him. It is where he has done some of his best recruiting work. He is so well-known in that area as being both a great recruiter and a great coach.”

Johnson was instrumental not only in landing Haskins but also in getting current Buckeyes Chase Young and Isaiah Prince out of the D.C. area; Keandre Jones from Maryland; and Teradja Mitchell and K’Vaughan Pope from Virginia.

The Buckeyes already have a commitment from safety Bryson Shaw of The Bullis School for the 2019 class. They are still in pursuit of defensive tackle D’Von Ellies of McDonough, who will make his official visit the weekend of the Michigan game.

OSU also is considered to be one of the leaders for Chris Braswell, of St. Frances in Baltimore, the No. 1 defensive end prospect nationally for the 2020 cycle, along with linebacker Mekhail Sherman of St. John’s College in Washington, among others.


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