Maryland football’s recent rise in recruiting rankings fueled by Spalding pipeline (2024)

In light of recent decisions by Archbishop Spalding football players Malik Washington, Jayden Shipps and Delmar White to join four former teammates at Maryland, the punch line among the Cavaliers is that the program could be rebranded as “The University of Spalding.”

“It’s funny,” Washington said with a smile. “It’s a good little joke. With [junior linebacker] Kellan [Wyatt] and [redshirt sophom*ore defensive back] Lavain [Scruggs] and [freshmen linebacker twins] Keyshawn and Keion [Flowers] being there, we have at least one or two dudes in every class. So, they’re not wrong.”

Washington, Shipps and White are part of a 20-member Class of 2025 that continues to elevate the Terps’ standing in recruiting rankings. As of last week, their group had moved from No. 30 to 24 nationally by 247Sports. Although they are No. 9 in the newly reconfigured 18-team Big Ten Conference, they’ve enjoyed a strong showing, according to 247Sports college football recruiting analyst Allen Trieu.

“I think Maryland’s done a really good job of taking advantage of summer officials and getting kids committed in the class,” he said. “When you look at the class, there’s been a lot of additions in June and July. So they have some serious momentum right now, and I think that also tells you that they’ve done a great job of impressing those recruits and their families and their coaches. It’s one thing to schedule officials, and it’s another thing to make those officials an experience where the kids want to commit to the school afterward. So the class has just grown tremendously and gone up quite a bit in the rankings here in just the last few weeks.”

While three-star prospects Shipps, a cornerback, and White, a defensive tackle, round out a solid class, Washington is the group’s linchpin. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback amassed 2,930 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes along with 225 rushing yards and six touchdown runs last fall while propelling Archbishop Spalding (10-2) to its second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title and the No. 2 ranking in The Baltimore Sun’s final poll.

A starting forward who contributed to the Cavaliers’ runs to the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League championship games, Washington was named The Sun’s 2023-24 high school boys Athlete of the Year on June 26. Later that day, he announced he had selected the Terps over Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Central Florida.

One of four four-star recruits in the Class of 2025, Washington shrugged off any concerns about outside expectations.

“I don’t really think of it as pressure,” he said. “I just look at it as people starting to turn their eyes towards us, to look at the DMV, and even some of the local dudes, after me and Jayden and Delmar committed, hit me up and said, ‘What are you all trying to do?’ I’m trying to make this class something special where we can leave our legacy.”

Washington, Shipps and White highlight a growing trend of players in Maryland, Virginia and D.C., electing to stay close to home. Mervo wide receiver Justin DeVaughn, Milford Mill offensive lineman Amory Hills, Concordia Prep defensive end Sidney Stewart, and Calvert Hall tight end JT Taggart are Baltimore-area players who committed, and five other players from the state, Virginia and Washington also pledged to play at Maryland.

Terps football and basketball broadcaster Johnny Holliday said coach Mike Locksley has made it clear that he wants to dissuade area talent from fleeing to NIL deals offered by rivals such as Penn State, Ohio State and Virginia. Decisions by Washington and four-star defensive lineman Bryce Jenkins could sway others to join them, Holliday said.

Maryland football’s recent rise in recruiting rankings fueled by Spalding pipeline (1)

“Other schools will look at them and say, ‘Wait a minute, look at how good these kids are. They could have gone anywhere,’” he said before turning his attention to Washington. “When you look at that program and think, ‘Look at this kid and what he’s going to do,’ you might start to think, ‘Maybe I should look at Maryland. Why would I want to go to Penn State and be promised all of these roses and stuff and sit on the bench when I can play at Maryland and play before my family and friends?’ He’s saying, ‘Look at what we’re doing. You can follow me, and we can take this thing to the next level.’”

More Spalding players might arrive at Maryland, which has made offers to defensive back Sean Johnson and running back Aaron Igwebe. The pipeline between the two schools is a by-product of the relationship built by Locksley and Cavaliers coach Kyle Schmidt, who started 27 games at center and guard under former Terps coach Ralph Friedgen and served as a graduate assistant with the program in 2007 and 2008.

Schmidt, who emphasized that he supports his players’ desires to play anywhere they want, said he and Locksley share a similar approach to developing players.

“He has said, ‘Your guys are about football, and Maryland guys are about football,’” Schmidt said. “We do the commitment messages and things, but there’s not a lot of jazz out here, there’s not a lot of patting them on the back and telling them how great they are. There’s a lot of honesty in our program, and quite frankly, Coach Locks has been upfront about that, about how he wants similar-type kids.”

Whether the incoming players can reverse the Terps’ fortunes remains to be seen. They have yet to compile a .500 record in the Big Ten and have not captured a conference title since 2001 when the program was in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

But Maryland has won three consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history, and Shipps said he and his teammates won’t shy away from dreaming big.

“There’s just pressure going to college in general,” he said. “But pressure makes diamonds. We have to go in here and really play well to make everything happen. And we’ve got a great quarterback now. So we’re going to shake up some stuff down there.”

Maryland football’s recent rise in recruiting rankings fueled by Spalding pipeline (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arielle Torp

Last Updated:

Views: 5858

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arielle Torp

Birthday: 1997-09-20

Address: 87313 Erdman Vista, North Dustinborough, WA 37563

Phone: +97216742823598

Job: Central Technology Officer

Hobby: Taekwondo, Macrame, Foreign language learning, Kite flying, Cooking, Skiing, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Arielle Torp, I am a comfortable, kind, zealous, lovely, jolly, colorful, adventurous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.