Feb. 5, 1997
22 Football Players Sign National Letters Of Intent With Terps
COLLEGE PARK, Md.--University of Maryland head football coach Ron Vanderlinden announced Wednesday evening the signing of 22 high school seniors to National Letters of Intent. The 1997 recruiting class is Vanderlinden's first-ever at Maryland.
The class includes seven players from Maryland or D.C.; three from Michigan; two each from Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Illinois; and one from both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
"The first thing that I set out to do was to recruit a young man with more to his life than just football. I'm impressed with the quality of the person that we have recruited. I'm proud of every player for choosing to become the foundation of the Maryland football program," Vanderlinden said.
Vanderlinden also introduced his eight assistant coaches. Including Vanderlinden, the new Terp staff has participated in 41 bowls and three Super Bowls.
PLAYER POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN(HIGH SCHOOL) Melvin Fowler, Jr. DT 6-4 265 Wheatly, NY (Half Hollow Hills) Mike George OL 6-6 270 E. Hanover, NJ (Hanover Park) Julian Hambrick DE 6-5 255 Elizabeth, NJ (Elizabeth) Gil Harris QB 6-2 200 Viginia Beach, Va. (Tallwood) Jason Hatala RB 5-11 170 Centreville, Va. (Centreville) Tony Jackson TE/WR/CB 6-1 190 Ellicott City, Md. (Wilde Lake) Eric James TE/DE 6-2 225 Washington, DC (Anacostia) Kris Jenkins DT 6-5 265 Ypsilanti, Mich. (Belleville) Derrick Jones DT 6-3 265 Port Jefferson, NY (Comsewoque) LaMont Jordan RB 5-11 210 Forestville, Md. (Suitland) Matt Kalapinski FB/LB 6-1 210 Marshfield, Mass. (Marshfield) Brian Kopka K 5-8 175 Hollywood, Fla. (Hollywood Hills) Reggie Lewis LB 6-2 215 Chicago, Ill. (Carver) Erik Lipton QB 6-4 200 Crofton, Md. (Arundel) Matt Murphy TE 6-5 220 New Haven, Mich. (New Haven) Doug Patterson WR 6-2 190 Shelby Township, Mich. (Eisenhower) Chris Sanders CB 6-2 195 Winter Springs, Fla. (Oviedo) Mike Sherman OT/DE 6-6 313 Gaithersburg, Md. (Good Council) Chris Snader OL 6-5 295 Bishopville, Md. (Stephen Decatur) Albert Surman OG/LB 6-3 245 Pittsburgh, Pa. (Baldwin) Ryan Swift RB 6-1 219 Hinsdale, Ill. (Hinsdale Central) Aaron Thompson RB/DB 6-2 215 Baltimore, Md. (Mt. St. Joseph)
*Season tickets for Maryland's six-game home 1997 schedule are now on sale for $138. Tickets can be ordered by phone at 1-800-462-TERP.
Melvin Fowler, Jr.
Bio: An All-Long Island selection by the coaches and All-County pick by the Long Island Sporting News...Named Long Island's Outstanding lineman by coaches... A finalist for the 1996 Bob Zellner Award...A three-sport star who also excels in basketball and lacrosse...Attended Hills West High School as a junior and led hoop team in scoring...Captured Holiday Tournament MVP honors in basketball this year...Very active in extracurricular activities, serving as a member of SADD and volunteering in the Special Olympics...A two-year Honor Roll student.
Bio: First-team All-Conference, All-Area, All-Group II and third-team All-State his senior year...Selected to All-Area and All-Conference teams as a junior...Earned three letters in football and served as captain his senior year...Earned four letters in both wrestling and track and field...As a junior, he finished ninth in the state in his weight class on the mat, third in the discus and fifth in the shot put...Selected to All-County, All-Conference and first-team Group II for both sports as a junior...Ranked No. 1 in state in the discus this year...Hopes to become an athletic director one day...Enjoys playing golf in his spare time.
Bio: Enrolled at Maryland for Spring 1997 semester after meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements...An All-East selection by Tom Lemming and Blue Chip Illustrated...Named All-State, All-County, All-Conference and All-Area his senior year...Ranked as the 86th overall recruit by SuperPrep magazine...Played at Kecoughtan High as a junior and was selected All-State and All-District...Compiled 28 sacks over his last two seasons...Set a Kecoughtan school record with four sacks in three games...Minutemen captured conference title and finished eighth in state in Group IV his senior year...Kecoughtan qualified for state playoffs under his leadership...Earned four letters in football and one in basketball...Named to All-County basketball team despite only playing one year...Hopes to open his own practice as a psycologist...A talented musician who plays the saxaphone, bass guitar and trumpet.
Bio: Set school records for career passing yards and single-season passing yards as a senior... Passed for 2,785 yards and 22 TDs in his career...Led Tallwood to an 8-2 record his senior year while throwing for approximately 700 yards...Prep Star magazine wrote in its January 1997 issue, "Gil is a strong armed QB...Excellent size and speed"...Took Lions to three consecutive Division VI playoffs; the Tallwood program began only five years ago...Earned three letters in football, one in basketball, one in baseball and one in track...He competed in the long jump and the high jump in track...Hopes to pursue a career in athletic training.
Bio: Amassed 3,500 rushing yds (9.25 avg.) and 43 TDs for his career...As a senior, ran for 1,400 yds and 13 TDs despite nursing an early-season hamstring injury...61 catches for 19 yards per catch average last year...Averaged an unbelievable 44 yards on kickoff returns and 26 yards on punt returns...Runs a lightening quick 4.3 in the 40...Posted over 5,700 all-purpose yards for his career....Named his county's Co-Player of the Year as a junior...Selected All-Region and All-District as a junior and All-District as a senior...Tom Lemming's No. 3 running back prospect in Virginia in the preseason... Listed as Prep Star's top 5 running back prospect in the ACC region in pre-season.
Bio: First-team All-Met selection by the Baltimore Sun and second-team All-Met selection by the Washington Post as a senior... Maryland High School Sports Ledger Co-Player of the Year...Tom Lemming ranked him as the state's No. 1 DB prospect...Selected Howard County's Defensive Player of the Year by the Howard County Times...First-team All-Howard County pick...Named to second-team All-Metro as a junior and second-team All-County as a sophomore...Started all four years...His father, Rich, is Wilde Lake's JV Coach; he played for his father for the first week as a freshman before being called up to varsity...Wilde Lake won the Howard County championship two of the last three years, including a 10-1 record and Regional title in 1996...Will earn his third letter in baseball after being named first-team All-Met last year...Plans to major in computer science...Has posted perfect attendance every year since middle school...His brother, Richard, attends Morgan State on an academic scholarship.
Bio: Caught an amazing 71 passes for 1,324 yards and 19 TDs as a senior...Named to George Michael's Golden 11...First-team All-Metro by the Washington Post...Tom Lemming's top prospect in DC (all positions)...Led Anacostia to city championship and 10-3 record last year...As a junior caught 55 passes for 631 yards and 8 TDs...Starting forward on basketball team.
Bio: Selected All-Area and All-League as a senior...Ranked as the 18th top recruit in the state of Michigan by the Detroit Free Press...Led Belleville to the 1995 Div. III final while compiling a 10-1 record...Started at Ypsilanti High as a junior...Also earned two letters in basketball and two letters in track...Threw the shot and discus in track...Qualified for state meet in the discus...Also ran the 400 meter dash...Plans to major in civil engineering...Enjoys lifting weights in his spare time...His cousin, Johnny Hollyfield, was a tailback for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.
Bio: Voted Gatorade's Player of the Year in NY...Prep Star magazine named him to its first-team Dream Team and ranked him as the No. 8 DL prospect in the nation and NY's No. 1 overall prospect...110 tackles and 9 sacks as a senior...Set all-time school mark with 28 career sacks....Only four-year starter in school history...All-Suffolk County three consecutive years...Led high school to Div. III state title at 10-1...Tom Lemming's 16th overall selection in the east and the region's No. 5 defensive prospect...Named first-team All-Long Island as a junior (1996's list TBA)...As a junior, posted 42 tackles, nine sacks and three caused fumbles... Clocked at 4.74 in the 40.
Bio: First-team All-Metro selection by Washington Post and Baltimore Sun...An All-State and All-County selection as well... Named to George Michael's Golden 11...PG County's Player of the Year......Also received Washington Pigskin Club Award...As a junior, earned second-team All-County honors and was named Washington District Officials' Most Outstanding Player...Rushed for 1,962 career yards and 23 Tds on 196 attempts as a senior... Also returned two punts for touchdowns...Hauled in two receptions for 95 yards and one TD in 1996...Amassed 1,084 yards on 106 attempts as a junior... In 1995, became first Ram since 1984 to rush for more than 1,000 yards... Prep Star magazine wrote in its January 1997 issue: "Jordan has prototype NFL size and speed for a RB" and ranked him as the No. 5 RB in the ACC region...Earned two letters in football, two in track, one in baseball and one in swimming....Named team's MVP as a senior...Led Rams to 8-2 record last year, their best record in 20 years... Clocked at 10.6 in the 100 meter dash and 21.6 in 200...County champ in 100 meter dash last year...Helped Rams win their first county track title since 1991...Bench presses 275 pounds and squats 350...Plans to teach math at the high school level...Enjoys working with kids and volunteers in his church's nursery...Lists his hobbies as swimming, poetry, and watching pro wrestling.
Bio: Boston Globe's Div. III Player of the Year...Selected to Boston Globe's, Boston Herald's and Patriot Ledger's All-Scholastic teams...Named All-League, Player of the Year by WATV radio...Named to coaches' All-State team...Set school rushing records for both career and single season including: yards rushing in a season (1,771), rushes in one game (22), yards rushing in one game (223), average per carry for a season (12 yards), TD's in a season (27), TD's in a career (47), longest KO return for a touchdown (90 yds), longest punt return for a TD (85 yds) and most points in a season (174)...As a junior, recorded 66 tackles at linebacker...Led Rams to two consecutive Super Bowl championships...Earned three letters in football and three in baseball...In baseball, named All-League as a junior...Batted .370 in baseball in 1996...Enjoys lifting and skiing in his spare time....Benches over 300 pounds and squats 460 pounds...Vertcial leap of 30''.
Bio: Named All-State his senior year...A two-time All-County and All-Conference selection...Booted a career best 56-yard field goal last year...Was successful on eight of 11 attempts in 1996 and made all 14 extra point attempts...Voted Student-Athlete of the Week by the Sun Sentinel Newspaper...Plans to major in criminal justice or business...A member of the National Honor Society with a 3.88 GPA..His brother, Kevin, is a kicker for Notre Dame.
Bio: Led the city of Chicago with 20 sacks as a senior...Selected first-team All-Met by the Chicago Sun Times...Recorded 104 tackles and 10 fumble recoveries last year...Led Carver to an 8-2 record last year..Averaged 10 points and 12 boards for the basketball team that is ranked third in the state...
Bio: State public school career record holder for yards passing (4,768), touchdown passes (47), completions (312), attempts (522), and games played (29)...Threw for 2,056 yards and 20 TD's as a senior, completing 146 passes on 248 attempts with only six interceptions...Arundel posted a 22-7 record with Lipton as a starter, including a 10-1 season in 1995...Named: All-Metro by Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Sun's 4A Offensive Player of the Year, Maryland Big Schools All State, Tom Lemming All-American, Sporting News Top 10 QB's, Athlon magazine All-American, CSPN All-American, G & W Report All-American, SRA All-American, National Recruiting Advisor All-American, Bill Buchwalter All-American, Baltimore Sun Athlete of the Week, Capital News Player of the Week, Capital News All-Anne Arundel County 4a League Team, Coaches' All-Anne Arundel County 4A League Team...Prep Star magazine wrote in its January 1997 issue: "Good size and speed. Possesses a strong arm and has excellent ball handling skills. Very calm in the pocket and can pick up downfield receivers " and selected him as its No. 5 QB prospect in the ACC region....School record holder for single-season completions (146 in 1996), singl- season completion percentage (63 % in 1994), single-season passing yards (2,056 in 1996), single-season TD passes (20 in 1996) and best single-season TD passes to int. ratio (3.3 to 1 in 1996)...Led county in assists as a point guard on the basketball team last year...Mother, Pam, and father, Chet, each attended the University of Maryland.
Bio: Will go down in Maryland history as the first player to commit to Terp head coach Ron Vanderlinden... Named All-Met by the Detroit Free Press after playing an amazing six positions (FB, TE, WR, DE, LB, DT)...His uncle, Dwight Lee, was an All-American at Michigan State...Posted 80 tackles on the defensive side of the ball...An excellent student with a 3.3 GPA.
Bio: Named to the All-State Dream Team by the Detroit News...Detroit Free Press named him All-State...MVP of the MAC-RED Conference...McComb County Player of the Year...First-team All-Metro by Detroit News and Detroit Free Press...First-team All-McComb County by McComb Daily...Set school records for career receptions (105), receptions in a season (56), and receptions in a game (12)...Posted nearly 1,500 career reception yards and 18 total TDs...Compiled 602 yards and five TDs on 29 punt returns...As a junior, named first-team All-Metro East, first-team All-McComb, and Honorable Mention All-State...Earned two letters in football, two in basketball and three in baseball.
Bio: Named first-team All-Conference...Posted five interceptions and returned two for touchdowns as a senior (83 yards, 20 yds)...Also caught three touchdown passes and served as backup QB...Named second-team All-Conference as a junior...Led Lions to two consecutive Rotary Bowl appearances...Earned three letters in football, three in basketball, two in baseball, one in track and one in weightlifting...In basketall, earned MVP of Central Florida Classic as a junior...Named to All-Tournament team of Kiwanis International Classic...Led squad in scoring while being named to All-District Team...Hopes to join the FBI in the future...Enjoys singing, fishing and golfing.
Bio: Rated No. 1 prep football player...Named to the WCAC's second-team...Placed on Super Prep's All-Region team... Offensive MVP eight of 11 games...Averaged eight pancake blocks per game..Can bench press 425 pounds...Led Milford to 11-2 record last yar...Earned three letters in football, two in basketball and one in track and field...Led Good Council's basketball team in scoring as a freshman with 24 points per game...Plans to major in secondary education and aspires to coach at the high school level...Enjoys working with young kids and working out...His father, Chuck, played basketball at Pitt.
Bio: Named first-team consensus All-State and rated as one of the state's top 30 players...Two-time first-team All-Bayside Conference...Led Seahawks to 8-2 record last year...Earned three letters each in football and track... Prep Star magazine wrote in its January 1997 issue: "Chris has the size and footwork that colleges look for in an OT prospect. Uses his hands and arms well"...Reigning Bayside Conference Champion in disucs...130-ft discus toss placed him second in his region...Enjoys hunting and fishing....His father, Russell, played football at Salisbury State.
Bio: Named All-Quad A Conference first-team...Selected to Western Pennsylvania's Fabulous 22 team...Named to Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Fabulous "22", Pittsburgh Triibune Review Fantastic "40,"...Quad A All-Conference on offense and defense three consecutive years...Four-year varsity starter...Played five postions (LB, OG, DE, FB, TE) in addition to his responsibilities as long and short snapper...Named to Street and Smith's Top 50 underclassmen in 1995...Bench presses over 415 pounds and squats 550 pounds (school record)...Younger brother of current Terps' reserve offensive lineman, Anthony.
Bio: Named All-Met Chicago after posting 2,820 career yards on 405 rushes and 27 TDs... Tom Lemming's No. 2 RB prospect in Illinois last preseason...As a junior ran for 903 yds and 12 TDs on 150 carries... Averaged an impressive 27.8 yds on kickoff returns...Also posted a 37-yd punting average...A track star who was clocked at 10.7 in the 100 meter dash...Benches 315 lbs...Will play in coaches all star game in July.
Bio: Selected as the Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year as a senior...Ran for 2,325 yds and 37 TDs on 314 rushes last fall...Will become the first player from a Baltimore school to attend Maryland since 1993...One of state's all-time leading rushers...Played linebacker in special situations, posting 19 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
Q & A With Ron Vanderlinden
Q: What are your impressions of your first recruiting class at Maryland?
A: "The first thing that I set out to do was to recruit a young man with more to his life than just football. I'm impressed with the quality of the person that we have recruited. I've also been told by our admissions director that this is the best academic class that we have signed in years. It's my goal annually to compete for the ACC championship in the classroom and on the football field."
Q: You said in your first press conference that it was crucial to sign local talent. How do you feel your staff achieved this goal?
A: "I was very encouraged in our ability to get the finest players in the area on campus on such a short notice. We virtually got a visit out of every good player in the area. Signing seven quality players from the state of Maryland or the surrounding area gives us a great start in achieving this goal. I'm proud of every player for choosing to become the foundation of the Maryland football program. With a full year to recruit in the future, our local recruiting should continue to get better. "
Q: Recruiting is normally a year long process. What was it like trying to get it done in the short time you've been here?
A: I was greatly encouraged by the reception we received here at the University of Maryland by recruits. When we contacted the players, many of them had already seen Maryland's beautiful campus. I felt our staff did a great job in assembling such a strong class under difficult conditions. To add to the difficulty was the fact that we did not have students on campus during the entire month of January. We utilized all but three of our official visits during the month of January."
Q: How difficult was it to recruit and hire a coaching staff at the same time?
A: "Hiring a staff was one of the single most difficult things I have done. My standards were very high and I methodically took my time in selecting the coaching staff that we've brought to Maryland. I also feel like it has been the best thing that I have done since I have been here at Maryland. I am proud and humbled that such a quality group of men and coaches have joined me here at the University of Maryland. Once our staff was assembled, they did a great job in evaluating and turning up talent and then recruiting them once we identified who they were. I've been told that one coach is worth ten players if he's a good one. I've found that to be true."
Q: Now that the recruiting process is complete, what stands out in your mind?
A: There are two things that stand out in my mind. One is that we have a great coaching staff that's going to do a great job of recruiting here at the University of Maryland. And two, the combination of a beautiful school, updated football facilities and an outstanding academic institution gives me a great deal of optimism for the future."