Analysis: Safety Corey Coley to Maryland
Maryland added their third commitment in the secondary when Trinity Christian Academy (FL) safety Corey Coley announced his verbal. All Terrapins breaks down commitment number 17 in Maryland's 2021 class.
How it happened…some Maryland fans may be unfamiliar with the Terps’ latest commitment, but the soft-spoken defensive back out of the Sunshine State had been a consistent target in the secondary for the defensive staff since his mid-April offer. The Florida safety initially announced his verbal commitment to LSU back in late 2019 despite the Tigers’ attention elsewhere on the trail, giving Coley a chance to expand his recruitment as he focused elsewhere. Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Ole Miss were among the schools to join the race for the instinctive defensive back, but the persistency from Maryland—namely inside linebackers coach George Helow—paved the way for commitment number 17. Maryland went full steam ahead in the secondary once cornerbacks coach Henry Baker was announced as he added to the preexisting relationships between Coley and Helow.
Helow’s recruiting territory overlaps within the DMV for a number of commitments and targets, but his relationships in Florida strengthen an already strong trio of recruiters in the Sunshine State. Maryland signed eight prospects in Florida last cycle led by receivers coach Joker Phillips, tight ends coach Mike Miller and defensive line coach Brian Williams as Helow adds another dynamic. The former Bishop Kenny High School standout returned back to his home state in 2013 after his first season as a coach at Alabama, where Helow served as a defensive grad assistant at Florida State during their championship season. His strong ties in Jacksonville helped reel in Coley, providing Helow with his first commitment on the Maryland coaching staff.
What it means…it’s easy to see why Coley was coveted. The defensive back lined up at both cornerback and safety as a junior where his ball skills and instincts helped position him with the ball in the air. Coley has good change of direction and uses his hands to compliment his closing speed to disrupt the pass. At 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, Coley gives Maryland a high IQ safety that can build into his frame while maintaining his aggressiveness. His downfield pursuit not only helps raise his pass coverage but allows him to become a reliable defender in run support. Similar to 2020 signee Jakorian Bennett, the versatility that Coley provides in the secondary will help him come in as a cornerback.
What’s next…Maryland now has their third commitment in the secondary, joining Archbishop Spalding (MD) nickel cornerback Jayon Venerable and McDonogh (MD) free safety Dante Trader. Spots are tight on the defensive side of the ball moving forward, where the focus could remain in the secondary to close things out. Maryland could likely turn that limited space into a more concentrated effort at cornerback where they’re still chasing top juco prospect De’Jahn Warren. Maryland became the first Power Five offer for Chattahoochee County (GA) cornerback Carlos Dunovant and Milford Mill (MD) cornerback Rishon Holmes, both of whom remain uncommitted targets on Maryland's recruiting board, so closing out the defensive haul with another in the secondary is still in play. A lot of lurking variables for how recruiting will take shape to close the abnormal 2021 cycle, but with Coley’s commitment, the staff can continue to prioritize their efforts in the secondary.