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B1G 2021, Maryland Potluck #1: Recruiting Upticks and the DMV—is Maryland doing enough?

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Getting back to basics with the Terrapins and what should be the unlimited potential of a Big Ten team in the DMV.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In 2019 the Maryland Terrapins ranked 11th in the Big Ten in recruiting; by 2020 they hit 6th, and in 2021 they tipped the scales at 4th in the conference, according to 24/7.

Head coach Mike Locksley’s 2020 class, in particular, had the noteworthy 5* WR Rakim Jarrett of St. John’s in Washington, D.C., and awesomely-named Ruben Hyppolite II out of Hollywood, FL—the 2021 class added the #16 overall prospect, LB Terrence Lewis out of Miami Central HS.

The results for some of these big recruits, particularly at skill positions, have been almost instant: in limited action, Jarrett (17 rec., 252 yards, 2 TDs) trailed only Dontay Demus, Jr. (also of Washington, D.C.!) in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

The raw numbers of Maryland’s uptick are undeniable, and the narrative around the program has improved greatly, given the lack of results and the shadow of Jordan McNair’s tragic death.

Of course, all the usual caveats apply: Locksley hasn’t actually won anything yet. Maryland is still in a division in which at least three of the seven teams will consistently out-recruit them. Your returning rushers are FS frosh Peny Boone (19 for 86 and 0 TDs) and 3* Isaiah Jacobs (19 for 61, 0 TD). You need a quarterback to actually get those playmakers the ball and probably shouldn’t be relying on JUCO transfers for your offensive line or VMI transfers for your backup quarterback—though the latter, Reece Udinski, is an air-raid QB could looks like he’s 40 but could thrive under OC Dan Enos.

So, writers:
(1) Maryland football is recruiting like hell. At what point do we see an uptick in the football team’s performance?

(2) Assess MDPrideinMA’s assertion that Taulia Tagovailoa needs to just be Purdue-levels of competent in light of those receivers and recruiting—what is the best thing Locksley and Enos can do with this offense?

(3) How does your team do recruiting locally—is that A Thing, is there a major metro you should be doing better in, or are they required to have pipelines elsewhere?

Beez: (1) The easiest way to improve team performance through recruiting is by upgrading offensive line and, in my opinion, linebackers.I get that Maryland is loaded at WR and skill positions and athletes generally, but you still need those core/anchor positions to be good. It’d also help if they stopped hiring utter failures as Head Coach.

(2) Establish The Run. Or tear the B1G apart by having a decent QB. BTW, “Purdue-levels of competent” at QB is in the top 14 of the B1G, so “just” is a bit of a big ask.

(3) Wisconsin routinely gets all the (football) players it wants from in-state, and gets lots of good/great ones from Minnesota, Illinois, and sorta Iowa (I think?). They could and should be doing better in other parts of the Midwest, particularly when going up against Notre Dame, but they’ve had a New Jersey pipeline for years and are sneaky good in North Carolina.

WSR: 1) What Beez said about the fat kids. Gotta recruit OL talent and depth to move the needle in the B1G. And I’m not going to believe that Mike Locksley is anything more than a recruiter with a whistle until he proves it. There’s far too much evidence to the contrary for me to believe anything else.

2) Wait, they hired Dan Enos? That would explain why I can hear twitter sensation @jerkweatery screaming. After being absolutely abysmal at Central Michigan and Arkansas, I didn’t think Enos would be able to hurt my favorite Hawg anymore, but moving to the DC area to harm him via proximity is just cruel. Enos is trash. Nearly Jedd Fisch levels of “Why the fuck does this guy keep falling upwards into jobs? Does he have some outstanding connection to cocaine and hookers that we don’t know about, because it’s definitely not his coaching ability.

3) Burn Lakeville to the ground.

RU in VA: 1) As a fan/alumnus of a team that’s doing similar recruiting things this year, who knows. I think Maryland is taking all the right steps, but I also think the line between a facility/recruiting/coaching and stellar performance is large. Every SEC team has world class facilities... but we know that league isn’t even.

2) Be a more dangerous Indiana. No one wants to play a team with burners on the edges and a QB that can toss the ball 65 yards.

3) Recently, RU has been doing real well in the South Jersey area (basically draw a line from Philly -> East and everything south of there), and the Western Philly suburbs. Those North Jersey 5 star recruits always get poached - they have to do a better payment recruiting job of getting those kids to just go 30 miles south to Piscataway.

HWAHSQB: My guess is that Locks follows in his mentor, Ron Zook, footsteps and the on field results never really match the recruiting results. There will be some random moments of really good football and some fun moments, but mostly disappointment.

Lovie pretty much ignored Illinois recruits. If he wasn’t ignoring them, he was pissing them off. Bert Bulimia has totally flipped the script and is saying all the right things about recruiting Illinois. It’s too early to see what the results of that focus will be.

Zuzu: 1) I always felt that you need 3 years worth of consistently good recruiting to become good—as good as your recruiting class says you should be. 2 years to see general improvement... so yeah I guess Maryland is gonna be good this year, but I hope not.

2) Ummm... have a good offense in one of the many ways to have a good offense? I don't know—be a good running team or have great passing and receiving. Seems like they have the personnel.

3) Greg Schiano is probably the best Jersey recruiter Rutgers as ever had. Chris Ash sucked. NJ's highest recruits uusually leave, however. Greg 2.0 may get better with that. I don't really care thought, just recruit good players.

MNW: Thankfully, Locks has Associate Head Coach Ron Zook ON STAFF to help him navigate the perils of being a good recruiter and shitty Big Ten coach.

Enos did impressive things with Cooper Rush at Central Michigan (man, remember that era of Chips QBs) and the Allens at Arkansas, though you get the feeling this is Locks surrounding himself with guys he’s familiar with more than committing to any one kind of scheme. Beez already hit the nail on the head by improving your offensive line, of course—throw it back to Thump saying the same thing a couple weeks ago—but at the very least seeing Maryland surrounding their playmakers with some sort of offensive scheme that could get you 4 yards and keep the sticks moving would be good. That requires not a huge leap by Tagovailoa, but one that asks him to build a couple “little things” that he can do well—”hit a 4-yard slant consistently” would be my pick, but perhaps “sense pressure and scramble” is achievable, too.

I’m fine with Northwestern recruiting, because (1) I don’t give a shit about recruiting, and (2) Pat Fitzgerald has never been in the top half of the conference and he’s done OK.

The Food: A Maryland Classic

Tell us, writers:
(1) What’s your preferred way to eat crab—and, if you have one, your favorite type of crab?

(2) Have you visited the DMV recently, and if so, what’s your Washington, D.C., or local recommendation?

Beez: (1) Favorite/best current way to eat crab is in cake form, preferably atop an English muffin with a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce on top. I’ll also accept “as whole blue crab” or in spider rolls.

(2) Nope, haven’t visited in almost a decade. And do your own dang research and stop being a sheep and just doing whatever is “recommended” by “locals” or “people who know what they’re talking about.”

WSR: 1) Steamed, with butter. Just have the forklift ready to move me away from the trough when I’m done.

2) Well actually, I just landed at MSP from Washington DC this morning. And I did what I always did, which is get shuttled to whichever dive bar in Arlington/Springfield my cousins want to drink at and then learn the names of the places we went a few days later by looking at my bank account or credit card activity. So...maybe I’ll let you know in a few days?

RU in VA: 1) Favorite... probably soft shell in a sushi roll (the “spider” roll usually). But I’ve recently gotten into Outer Banks bushels with a hammer and some butter mixed with old bay.

2) I uhhh, live in the DMV. I will make one recommendation. Peruvian Chicken. It’s a weird local special that doesn’t really exist anywhere else - but a half chicken with some plantains and yucca is a real treat. Preferably from a place called something like “King Pollo”, or “Pollo a la brasa”.

If you’re there for business, expense a meal at BLT Steak, Old Ebbitt’s Grill, or Jaleo. D.C. has a sneaky good food scene with some unexpected Michelin’s in there.

HWAHSQB: I’ve always loved crabcakes. Unfortunately, I live 1100 miles from the nearest ocean so I don’t get good crab very often.

My most recent visit to the area was six years ago. We took a family trip to Williamsburg/Jamestown. Easily my favorite part of the trip was a day at Yorktown Beach followed by crossing the street to Yorktown Pub, which had the best crabcakes I’ve ever had. The service was very good and excellent food/drink/bay views along with. I pretty much ate crab/oysters at every meal while I was in the area and that was the best I found.

Zuzu: 1) I like Crab legs. I like the taste of crab so I don't want it to be overpowered, but I can enjoy some Cajun variation of crab as well.

2) Haven't been in a while, but I'll be going soon for research. Go to the National Museum of Natural History aka the Smithsonian (one of several). They have a new Dinosaur Hall.

MNW: Man, maybe it’s been that long since we did Peruvian Chicken for a potluck...perhaps RU in VA will have to get an assist from some MD folks and explain its wonders for a subsequent Potluck.

I did not have it when I went to D.C. for the Northwestern-Maryland game, which is probably a regret of mine. What I did have was Cotton & Reed rum, (half?) owned by a Northwestern grad, which I was lucky enough to tag along on a tour of. Excellent stop more than worth your time.

Lump crab is my favorite, and because I too am a flatlander, I never get it. More of my experience is on the left coast with Dungeness, which I remember as being...a little brinier? Is that a thing? We’ll go with that. Maybe a little butter—Old Bay is for the rims of Bloody Mary glasses.

I’ve soured on crabcakes as of late—not because I haven’t had them fresh (that was the pleasant thing about teaching in Connecticut and heading up to Massachusetts and Maine), but just because I didn’t need all the crumbs or spices or anything else. After being in Portland for a few days, give me Eventide Oyster. Plus, there’s a distillery literally attached to the back.

Man, I want some seafood now.

Poll

Best way to eat crab?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Cakes
    (49 votes)
  • 13%
    Lump
    (22 votes)
  • 21%
    Legs
    (35 votes)
  • 15%
    As a vehicle for Old Bay
    (25 votes)
  • 4%
    Softshell
    (8 votes)
  • 12%
    Not at all
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    Hold on I have Dungeness vs. Blue Crab takes I will share in the comments
    (2 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now