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Recruiting impact of UMD to the Big Ten

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Recruiting impact of UMD to the Big Ten

Now that Maryland moving to the Big Ten is official, fans want to know the athletic impact of conference realignment. And if there is one area fans always focus on, it’s recruiting.

CSN spoke with two recruiting power brokers: Curtis Malone of the famed AAU basketball program DC Assault and head coach Biff Poggi of the Gilman School in Baltimore.

Both men gave positive responses to Maryland’s shift to the Big Ten, but based on the reactions it seems the move may do more for football recruiting than it does for basketball.

“It certainly opens up more of a possibility if you’re a football guy,” Poggi said. “Now you could go to school at home and play in the Big Ten, which is amazing.”

Poggi explained that in the past some schools have recruited talent out of Maryland by selling the opportunity to play traditional Big Ten powers. Now, that is no longer the case.

“In the past you’d have to go to PenState. Now you can go 35 minutes and be playing against OhioState and Michigan,” Poggi said. “It’s probably going to wind up, when I think about it, really helping them recruiting-wise with the local kids.”

Winners of two straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship games, and with 11 titles since 1995, Gilman is a dominant player in the Baltimore prep football world. Current Gilman quarterback Shane Cockerille is heading to Maryland this fall.

Asked if the move to the Big Ten would impact Gilman’s relationship with Maryland, Poggi dismissed the notion.

“That relationship has really improved because we’re big Randy Edsall fans. He’s been magnificent,” the Gilman coach said. “This won’t affect it one way or the other. I’m really happy for Randy, as far as football goes.”

While Poggi admitted Maryland’s move to the Big Ten move came as a big surprise, his response was overwhelmingly positive from a football position. He called the new league “a big stage that’s good to recruit for.”

Improvements will need to be made to the football practice facilities and Byrd Stadium, but Poggi pointed out that with increased revenue from the Big Ten Network the Maryland athletic department should be able to afford the work.

“I would think they’ll have to do something with the facilities to match the rest of that league. The stadiums in that league are monstrous,” Poggi said. “It’s a different world than the ACC.”

In basketball, the shift to the Big Ten will be more complicated.

Malone’s DC Assault team routinely produces some of the country’s best basketball talent. Two players on the current Assault squad will be attending Maryland next fall, big man Damonte Dodd and guard Roddy Peters.

Malone said he spoke with Peters and that the move to the Big Ten will not impact his commitment to the Terps. The same is expected with Dodd, Malone said.

But in the future, recruiting players to the Big Ten will not be the same as ACC.

“Of course I think it’s kind of a shock for everybody in Maryland basketball,” Malone said of the move. “Kids dream of playing against Duke and Carolina.

Now that Maryland will compete against a schedule full of Midwestern teams, Malone said that other ACC schools may use the conference affiliation against the Terps in recruiting.

“The way it’s going down with all these teams changing conferences, it’s going to be an adjustment,” Malone said. “The leagues evolve.”

Young players now hardly remember the old ACC, a league with elite basketball up and down the East Coast where every team played each other twice, the Assualt coach explained.

“The people who like Maryland are going to like Maryland,” Malone said. “I’m not sure kids growing up are that familiar with the history. Once they get the program rolling, I don’t think it will have that much of an effect.”

Once Maryland actually begins play in Big Ten, Malone said many kids will not think much of the difference. Plus, the Big Ten has its own set of high-quality basketball teams.

“Basketball is going into a good conference. Ohio State, Indiana, MichiganState. It’s right there with the ACC at the end of the day,” he said. “In basketball, Maryland goes out to be one of the better teams in that conference.”

Despite a spotty history between the DC Assault program and Maryland basketball – former Terps coach Gary Williams did not interact with Malone – the two teams enjoy a good relationship now.

Former Assault coach Dalonte Hill is now an assistant at Maryland, and Malone said the Terps move to the Big Ten will not impact the goodwill.

“Everyone knows Dalonte Hill is my guy,” Malone said. “He’s family.”

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Maryland strives to improve Big Ten's worst defense

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Maryland strives to improve Big Ten's worst defense

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland's season is spinning out of control, and the Terrapins find themselves defenseless in their bid to stop it.

Although much of the attention at Maryland this season has focused on the quarterback position, the team's most obvious flaw is its porous defense.

The Terrapins have yielded an average of 36.5 points per game, which ranks last in the Big Ten and 115th of 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They are permitting 439 yards per game -- last in the Big Ten and 104th in the FBS.

Over the past two games, Maryland (3-3, 1-2) has given up 99 points and 1,115 yards. One big reason is that the Terrapins have one sack in their last three games.

"We definitely need more pressure on the quarterback," coach DJ Durkin said Tuesday. "That's pretty much a staple of football. If you allow a quarterback to be patient and calm in the pocket, they usually find a guy open."

That's happened more times this season than Durkin would care to remember, and goes a long way toward explaining why Maryland's pass defense is 107th in the FBS.

Even though injuries have cost the Terrapins their top two quarterbacks , perhaps the most notable injury is the broken ankle sustained by defensive end Jesse Aniebonam in the season opener. Aniebonam had nine sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and 30 quarterback hurries in 2016.

"It's been a little shaky getting through it," defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. said.

"When you lose Jesse off the bat like that, he's your main pass rusher," end Brett Kulka said. "So it's going to be an issue to work through."

Durkin got the job at Maryland after a successful runs as a defensive coordinator at Florida and Michigan. In his second season at Maryland, he's tried just about everything to turn things around with this unit.

In the end, though, it comes down to individual effort.

"I'm sure there's always times when you can have a better call in certain situations, but guys have to win 1-on-1s," Durkin said. "If they keep enough guys in the block, someone's got to win a 1-on-1. It's really an attitude and a demeanor. It's about having the right attitude of, `I'm going to go win. I'm going to beat a block.'"

That didn't happen often last weekend in a 37-21 loss to Northwestern. Not only did the Wildcats pass for 293 yards, but tailback Justin Jackson rambled for 171 yards.

It was the third defeat in four games for the Terps. Things don't get any easier Saturday against No. 5 Wisconsin and Big Ten rushing leader Jonathan Taylor, who amassed 219 yards on the ground last week in a win over Purdue .

"He's hard to tackle," Durkin said. "He's got good speed, good vision. He understands what they do. Where to hit the hole, when to be patient how the blocks are going to unfold."

It's going to take a huge effort from the Maryland defense to pull off an upset.

"We need to go back to the basics," Brooks said. "We need to run to the ball more, make more tackles, cause more turnovers."

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Ty Johnson's 100-yard kick return for Maryland earns him Big Ten honors

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Ty Johnson's 100-yard kick return for Maryland earns him Big Ten honors

The Maryland Terrapins got rocked on the road by Ohio State on Saturday, losing 62-14 — although that’s still an improvement on their 62-3 loss in 2016 — but there was a clear bright spot on the field: Ty Johnson.

The Terps’ junior running back was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday, and the honor is well deserved after Johnson stunned the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe in the first quarter of the game with a 100-yard kick return.

After Ohio State jumped out to a 14-zip lead about five minutes into the game, Johnson was on the receiving end of the Buckeyes’ kickoff following their second touchdown. Johnson caught the ball on the edge of his team’s end zone, and thanks to great blocking early on by the Terps, he was able to zigzag his way through Ohio State players and find a path down the sideline to the opposite end zone.

Johnson’s standout play was the 37th 100-yard kick return in Big Ten history, according to the conference. It was also Maryland’s first since Will Likely did it against Iowa in 2015.

This is the first time Johnson has received Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and he averaged 31.5 yards per kick return on six attempts against the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Maryland’s next game is Saturday, October 14 when the Terps host the Northwestern Wildcats at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.

RELATED: No. 10 Ohio State and J.T. Barrett rout Maryland