NCAA

Maryland among three finalists for top 2021 QB recruit Caleb Williams

Maryland among three finalists for top 2021 QB recruit Caleb Williams

The Maryland Terrapins are on a recruiting hot streak as of late, bringing in commitments from local stars like Marcus Bradley and Demeioun Robinson, both four-star defenders from local powerhouse Quince Orchard.

Mike Locksley's class is currently ranked 14th in the entire country, made up entirely of local players from the DMV. The potential crown jewel of this unprecedented 2021 recruiting class? Five-star quarterback Caleb Williams.

The Gonzaga product is ranked by most as the top quarterback in the 2021 class, and a top five player overall. Williams, a dual-threat quarterback, has good size, a strong, accurate arm, mobility, excellent field vision and strong leadership skills. In short, he's the total package.

Adding Williams would be a major coup for a program that has struggled to capitalize on local talent in the past. But those past recruiting failures, and the team's 3-9 record in 2019, would quickly be forgiven if it can pull in Williams, who rates as the most talented quarterback prospect to come out of the area in a decade.

Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery are emphasizing their strong relationship with the Williams family, who is also considering Oklahoma and LSU in his final three. Of course, LSU just wrapped up one of the best seasons in college history behind the best statistical quarterback season ever by Joe Burrow. And Oklahoma is on an incredible quarterback run under Lincoln Riley, with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts putting forth three straight terrific, Heisman-level seasons.

It's an uphill battle for Maryland, as the Sooners are considered favorites by most experts. But as Locksley has shown time and time again, you can never count him out when it comes to recruiting the DMV. Battles like this are exactly why he was hired to rebuild the Terrapins program.

Williams is hoping to make a final decision by the end of the summer, but of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the plans of all recruits hoping to find their college home.

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How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

When 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker committed to Howard University in D.C., he sent shockwaves through the entire landscape of the basketball world, becoming the first top recruit to announce his intent to play at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) since Earl Jones played for the University of the District of Columbia in 1980.

While the decision was intricate and monumental on a multitude of levels, Maker revealed an interesting layer of his decision-making process:

He thought of future NBA lottery pick LaMelo Ball.

"I figured if LaMelo Ball could go to Australia, play in facilities like that, and still be considered a top NBA prospect, why not Howard?" Maker said.

Ball's path to the draft very well may be one of the most remarkable in sports history. Fast-forwarding to his final season at SPIRE, Ball was not eligible to attend college, therefore he agreed to a deal with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia to play in the NBL. 

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The decision was heavily scrutinized nationally with many believing it would drastically decrease his draft stock -- one disclosed scout told USA Today “the untraditional route (NBL) will almost certainly cost him (LaMelo) once draft night approaches."

After averaging 17.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.4 rebounds in the NBL and having his season cut short due to a bone bruise in his left foot, Ball is in the conversation to go the number one overall in the upcoming draft.

Point made. 

"People also sleep on the competitive nature of the MEAC [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference]," Maker said. "The pace and open flow style of play of the MEAC is more similar to the NBA, in my opinion. It’s a read-and-react league, so it will definitely help me get ready for the NBA."

Former head coach and NBC Sports Washington basketball analyst Jimmy Patsos, believes in Makers' decision and thinks it could spark a huge movement within college basketball. 

"If one person can lead a revolution, one person can lead a movement, this could be the guy," Patsos said on Friday. "Why not him changing the landscape of college basketball?"

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Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

The Big Ten Conference announced that the league will only play in-conference matchups for the fall 2020 season if games are able to be held. 

The news was first reported by The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach and then confirmed by other outlets.

While this is a gigantic step for the conference as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic, this is most noteworthy to college football. 

Typically, the Big Ten holds nine in-conference contests for each school out of a 13-game schedule. It is unclear if the league will expand its conference schedule to accommodate or continue with nine games. ESPN is reporting that many schools would like a 10-game schedule. 

It is also possible the league will move around current schedules to prepare for potential interruptions, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenburg.

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Removing those nonconference games will limit the student-athletes chance at exposure to the virus. There will be less travel, less hotel stays and fewer individuals that could create a mass-spread of the virus. 

However, with no out-of-conference contests for the upcoming season, the league will not be able to elevate itself as a whole across the college football landscape. It will cancel marquee matchups such as Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at Virginia Tech and Miami at Michigan State.

For the Maryland Terrapins, they lose a big road contest with West Virginia. Additionally, they had home games scheduled against Towson and Northern Illinois.

As one of the biggest leagues in the country (14 teams), the Big Ten does have the flexibility to expand its schedule with each team playing a full season. However, it could drastically affect how the league is perceived in the scope of the College Football Playoff, especially if other leagues do not follow suit. A one or two-loss league champion does not have any national measuring sticks.

The Big Ten has had a team in the Playoff four of the seven seasons it has been in effect. 

This decision comes on the heels of the Ivy League canceling all of their fall sports for the upcoming semester. The Ivy was the first league across the country to make a move so drastic. It should be noted that the Ivy was also the first league to cancel all spring sports at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This move does not guarantee that the Big Ten will still have football games this fall. It merely serves as a simpler attempt to safely have a season. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren isn't even convinced there will be a season. 

The conference also will allow student-athletes to choose not to play for the 2020-21 academic year to maintain their scholarship.

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