The University of Maryland football program announced six student-athletes signed national letters of intent Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
The new additions to Maryland football are four-star wide receiver Isaiah Hazel, three-star cornerback Deonte Banks, three-star wide receiver Dino Tomlin, three-star athlete Lavonte Gater, three-star offensive tackle Mason Lunsford and three-star tight end Malik Jacskon.
Five of the signees are from the DMV, including Hazel, who flipped his commitment from West Virginia last week. Tomlin, who attends Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, is the son of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. He also has an uncle, Ed, who played football at Maryland in the 1980s.
The small early-signing crop is the byproduct of the fallout from the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, investigations into the culture of the football program and the eventual firing of DJ Durkin.
“Obviously we have a lot more work to do as we fill out and develop the rest of this class between now and the next signing day period,” Maryland head coach Mike Locksley said during a Wednesday conference call, “but I’m thrilled with the student-athletes that we added today.”
Maryland’s Class of 2019 recruiting class currently ranks 79th in the nation and last in the Big Ten. Last year, Maryland had the No. 28 recruiting class in the country and it ranked fifth in the Big Ten.
Locksley, a revered recruiter in the DMV, has been somewhat hampered because of his current commitment to the University of Alabama, where he is serving as offensive coordinator until the Crimson Tide’s College Football Playoff run ends.
Locksley has been preparing for Alabama’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Oklahoma during the day, then devoting his time at night to Maryland. Two big priorities have been assembling his staff and reaching out to recruits.
While in College Park for his Dec. 6 introductory press conference, Locksley said he would use that time to meet with players one-on-one. During the conference call, he said he met with several players who have placed their name in the NCAA transfer database.
“The first thing for me was to stabilize our roster, our current roster,” Locksley said. “The best recruiting I could have done was meeting with each and every player on our team. Coming in, we had some guys who had their names on the portal … I was able to meet with, I want to say, 85 to 90 percent of the team individually, and I feel like we were able to stabilize our current roster.”
There is a still a possibility that more players could sign national letters of intent to come to College Park during the early signing period, which ends on Friday, but the more likely outcome is that the rest of Maryland’s recruiting class will come during National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
Five verbal commits currently remain unsigned, including three-star cornerback Tayvion Land and three-star outside linebacker Kameron Blount, who announced on Twitter they would be waiting until National Signing Day to make their decisions.
Locksley said the additional period between signing days allows him and his soon-to-be-assembled coaching staff the opportunity to meet with recruits and make sure both sides feel comfortable with each other.
“We want to make sure that both parties know that it’s a fit,” Locksley said. “We have not dropped or not honored anybody’s verbal commit. But we do want to make sure that parties have the opportunity to get to know each other and make sure that it is a fit, both academically, athletically and socially moving forward.”