The University of Maryland football program has undergone substantial reconstruction over the past few years. From rehauling the coaching staff, to campaigning “The Movement” — DMV recruits siding with one another at UMD — the new-look Terrapins have caught the eyes of highly regarded 4-star running back prospect, Anthony McFarland.
“Like I tell everybody, man, College Park is changing,” McFarland, the DeMatha product, said. “The whole atmosphere. The whole coaching staff is cool.”
According to ESPN, McFarland (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) is the second best running back who is left unsigned. While he currently has 22 Power-5 offers, only a handful remain on the list.
On August 31, McFarland narrowed his college choices to Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Miami and Tennessee. On Friday, Nov. 4, he informed reporters he’s ousted Florida and Tennessee, while adding Penn State. Alabama and Maryland make up the overhauled four-school list.
When McFarland broke his fibula on August 16, he said Florida and Tennessee slowly “backed off” their recruiting pursuit. In response, McFarland wants schools who “show him love,” a large reason to why Penn State — a school who hasn’t spoken to the DeMatha senior since his sophomore season — reentered the picture.
“I felt like I needed to give them a chance,” McFarland said of Penn State. “Went down their two weeks ago, and I loved it.”
If you were to rank the four schools that remain on McFarland’s list based on present-day success, Maryland certainly wouldn’t be on top. In the most current AP poll, Alabama (9-0) is ranked No. 1 while Penn State (7-2) is No. 12. Maryland and Miami, who are both 5-4, didn’t receive a single a point in the most recent AP poll.
But, when there’s reconstruction and overhauling done within a program, McFarland knows in order to be prominent, patience needs to be exercised.
“[Maryland is] having a solid season, but it takes time to rebuild a team,” McFarland said. “You’re not going to rebuild a team in one year, you know? It doesn’t happen like that. Like Nick Saban, it took six years for him to rebuild his team. I feel like they’re in a good place right now.”
Alabama currently has two backfield commits in ESPN top-ranked RB Najee Harris (6-foot-3, 226 pounds) and 19th ranked RB Brian Robinson (6-foot-2, 219 pounds).
“Like I tell everybody, man, College Park is changing,” Anthony McFarland on the revamped culture of University of Maryland football
Miami has one backfield commit, 4-star Robert Burns who ranks one spot above McFarland as the seventh ranked running back in the nation.
Penn State, meanwhile, doesn’t have a running back commit in the Class of 2017.
Maryland, who has five underclass running backs on this year’s roster, have a pair of 3-star commits in the Class of 2017.
“It’s going to be a tough decision to make,” McFarland said on his recruiting process. “I just have to take my time and go from there.”
Currently, Maryland’s Class of 2017 ranks 15th in the nation, according to 247sports. Of the 20 commits, 12 are from the DMV. And of the 109 players on the Terrapins football roster, 61 are from the DMV region. When asked if he was willing to adhere a rebuilding process to join the stay-at-home movement, McFarland’s answer was unhesitant.
“No doubt,” he said. “I think about it all the time. Even the local dudes. I talk to Kasim Hill, Ayinde (Eley), a lot of them dudes who’ve committed to Maryland. We talk about staying home everyday, and can we really get it done.”
After all, McFarland is only a short two-minute car drive from College Park. Since he’s so close, McFarland said he’s built “an even better” relationship with the new coaching staff. If McFarland picked UMD, he’d also be reunited with six of his former teammates at DeMatha.
“It’s a good factor,” McFarland said of possibly playing with old teammates again. “I played with them, so I understand how hard they work and things like that. We’ve got the same mindset, so I feel like I can come in there and do the same. We can build something together like we did at DeMatha.”
In 2014, McFarland ran for 1,124 yards in just 111 carries as a sophomore. Last year, he compiled more than 900 yards in DeMatha’s crusade to a third straight WCAC crown.
McFarland will take an official visit to Alabama on Nov. 26, where the Crimson Tide host Auburn, and a visit to Maryland this weekend to watch the Terps play Ohio State. He will also take one last visit on Dec. 9 to UMD.
“I’m just going to follow my heart, basically follow God in my heart,” McFarland said. “Whatever [God] tell[s]me to do, and whatever is best for me. I’m going to pray on it at night, and in the end it’s going to go from there.”