Maryland dealt big blow as Haskins, Jones flip commitments to Ohio State

Maryland suffered a big blow to its 2016 recruiting efforts on Monday as its top two recruits, quarterback Dwayne Haskins and linebacker Keandre Jones, flipped their commitments to Ohio State.
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Maryland lost a pair of four-star recruits to Big Ten foe Ohio State on Monday, when quarterback Dwayne Haskins of The Bullis (Md.) School and outside linebacker Keandre Jones of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.) High flipped their long-standing Terrapin commitments to Urban Meyer.

Both recruits are key losses for the Terps, as Haskins and Jones are local to the DMV area and had been Maryland’s top two 2016 recruits. Haskins in particular had been considered the leader of “The Movement,” Maryland’s recruiting pitch to keep local talent at home in the 2016 class and beyond. To lose the two to an in-division rival is a further hit to what the Terrapins had been building over the last year and a half.

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The commitments of Haskins and Jones add to Ohio State’s already monster class, which now ranks No. 1 in the country in Scout’s team rankings, with National Signing Day sitting just over two weeks away. The Buckeyes now have 16 four-star recruits and one-five star—defensive end Nick Bosa, the younger brother of All-America defensive end Joey Bosa.

Haskins, a pro-style quarterback and the No. 13 QB in Scout’s position rankings, is the lone quarterback in Ohio State’s 2016 class. However, with J.T. Barrett returning, Haskins doesn’t have as clear a path to playing time as a true freshman as he likely would have at Maryland, which saw its quarterbacks combine to throw an FBS-high 29 interceptions in 2015. The Buckeyes also have former 2015 four-star QB recruit Joe Burrow on their roster, whom Haskins will compete with for playing time behind Barrett, and four-star QB Danny Clark committed for 2017.

Jones, Scout’s No. 13-ranked linebacker, made the flip to Ohio State after taking an official visit to the school over the weekend. He verbally committed to Maryland way back in December 2014, while Haskins verbally committed last May. Both pledged to Randy Edsall, the former Terrapins coach who was fired in October after his team started the season 2–4. The pair were close with former Terps offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who took over as interim head coach after Edsall’s firing but did not end up staying on new coach D.J. Durkin’s staff.

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Haskins reacted to the news of Edsall’s firing by tweeting, “Committed to the state. They need us” (a tweet that has since been deleted), but his social media push for “The Movement” decreased considerably in recent weeks. With the strength of his commitment appearing to waver of late, Maryland’s staff extended offers to a 2016 quarterback other than Haskins for the first time, offering four-star pro-style QB Devon Modster (who committed to UCLA on Monday) and dual-threat QB Tyrrell Pigrome last week.

Two weeks ago Maryland’s 2016 recruiting class sat at No. 42 overall and No. 10 in the Big Ten per Scout, but the loss of Haskins and Jones drops it to No. 58 overall and No. 12 in the Big Ten per Scout. The Terps had been building toward a solid class before the departures and still hold commitments from four-star offensive guards Terrance Davis and Richard Merritt and four-star receiver Tino Ellis, but Monday’s news was no doubt a big blow and a setback to the stay-at-home movement. Likewise, it was a momentous day for Urban Meyer and Ohio State as the race to Signing Day heats up.