As another National Signing Day came and went, it leaves an already uneasy House of Maryland even more anxious. Maryland fans in the Washington Metro Area draw the same conclusion that they come to every year. Out of state schools break into their house, ransack their cupboards, bully their kids, max out their credit cards, and leave the region from Prince George's to Prince William Counties with nary a 3-star recruit.
The fact the Washington Metro region overflows with Division I talent getting yanked away to other time zones year to year has become a consistently embarrassing, and bordering on sad, tradition. College football is capitalism at its finest (unlike the socialist-esque NFL that champions "parity"), where the programs that consistently pony up the cash stay firmly entrenched in the upper-echelon of the sport while programs that pinch pennies end up with middling 7-6 records. Project that frugality conference-wide and you have the consistently mediocre Atlantic Coast Conference. Meh.
Any basic "recrutnik" knows the key to building a consistently strong program has three very basic conditions. As I rank in order of progression, schools like Florida, Oklahoma, and Ohio State always rake in top-recruiting classes because 1) they know P. Diddy had it right and "it's all about the Benjamins", 2) their head coaches and are known and proven commodities, and 3) they purely legitimately dominate in-state recruits.
Money, like in every other facet of life, runs everything. It's the biggest factor on whether a program is a success, which puts Maryland is at a fundamental disadvantage. The fan base, as passionate as it may be, just isn't big enough. High schools kids, mainly the ones that are arbitrarily ranked with 4 and 5 stars by the "experts," are in love with the spotlight and attention that comes out of the pockets of big time collegiate football programs.
Iowa-commit and Bishop McNamara-product Nico Law gushed about once he announced his decision to be a Hawkeye. He got an extra 1,000 Twitter followers overnight. Unfortunately, kids who go to Maryland play in the anonymity of Direct-TV sports packages, not in ESPN and ABC's Saturday Night's marquee match-ups.
Conferences all have their own separate rules on revenue sharing, and each has its own television deal which greatly alters the landscape of recruiting. As a proud Big Ten alum, the Big Ten Network alone produces $20 million a year for their member schools. The most recent of college coaches who eschewed a job coaching the Terps, Arizona's men's basketball coach Sean Miller, decided to sign an extension with the Wildcats rather than come to Maryland and win in a relatively competitive ACC. From where did Arizona come up with the money you ask? How about the Pac-10/12's new $3-billion television contract, which makes even the lowly Washington State jobs seem glamorous.
But I digress.
As a member of the ACC, Maryland plays by a complete different set of rules when they compete with other conferences for some defensive back out of Upper Marlboro. When you get right down to it, Maryland just isn't on TV enough.
Once you get by the preening of and fawning over 18 and 19-year old boys on your 62-inch Hi-Def television, what follows are those kids trusting that the man that recruited them out of Eleanor Roosevelt will be there when the kid decides on whether to make football a vocational choice.
Big time recruits sign with programs out-of-state because they know those coaching regimes have produced and developed kids just like them, into NFL talent.
Three 3-star recruits out of Maryland; Law out of McNamara, Darian Cooper and Jordan Lomax both out of DeMatha have all committed to play for Kirk Ferentz at the University of Iowa.
According to Ross Binder of the Iowa SB Nation blog "Black Hearts Gold Pants", these top-area defenders have decided to head on out to Iowa City because the university has made a name for itself producing NFL-level defenders the last couple years.
More importantly, Binder pointed out that Iowa inked a contract extension with Ferentz last year to extend his time in Iowa City to 2020. The coaching success and stability in Iowa is radically different from the turmoil in College Park with the firing of Ralph Friedgen and hiring of Randy Edsall. It's almost how a child is generally more successful in a healthy household versus the situational uncertainty and volatility that comes when a kid shuttles back and forth between a set of divorced parents.
The University of Maryland faces a variety of setbacks and challenges to attain any consistency in the college athletics landscape. Of course they're will be the 9-4 and 10-3 seasons, but with an already limited recruiting base of Maryland and D.C. having all the top-line kids being cherry picked by better programs, it leaves the House of Maryland on uncertain foundation.