Maryland, a team that went 6-7 last year and 3-9 the year before that, feels pretty good about their chances in the conference this year and the future. Too confident? You be the judge.
Three-star Maryland WR recruit Brian Cobbs said this:
"Now people are starting to notice DMV football is just as good as the schools down South as far as getting offers," Cobbs said. "DeMatha does a great job of that, too, getting kids to Maryland. If we can keep those kids around, the Virginia Beach kids, the kids from Maryland, we could really compete in the Big Ten. We could take over the Big Ten."
Echoed by this guy from "Saturday Tradition":
Durkin’s expedited success is hard evidence that Maryland can evolve into a player in the B1G, too. If his effort on the recruiting trail is any indication, it won’t be long before the Terrapins are competing with Meyer’s Buckeyes and Harbaugh’s Wolverines.
Durkin has notched commitments from six recruits with a four-star rating according to 247 Sports. Maryland is on the verge of locking up its highest-ranked recruiting class since such records have been kept. Currently the Terrapins’ 2017 class is No. 15 in the country and third in the B1G.
That’s a good formula for the sustainability of a program.
D.J. Durkin loves to brag about his program. The academics surpass every other university in the conference. In fact, the class standing of the Big Ten across the board rose eighteen percentage points just by adding Maryland. The Terps claim to have more Academic All-Americans than any team in the Big Ten East.
But it's not just about academics. Maryland is even crushing division rivals Ohio State and Michigan in revenue increases to the football program. In just two years, Durkin's Terps have ushered in a forty-five percent growth, more than most of college football's heavyweights.
Skeptics might say that this is simply due to renewed season ticket sales which fell dramatically during Randy Edsall's final season, while others could point to the continued investment by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank as the screen that covers most of the money going into the Maryland program. Durkin likes to say it's because Maryland is simply becoming "The Class of the Big Ten."
No other Big Ten university has a donor like Plank. Clearly his contributions through Under Armour, which include numerous uniform variations, have piqued the interests of the nation's top recruits.
Could this signal an era where Maryland's stellar recruiting takes over the division? Alumni certainly think so. A recent poll by Maryland's athletic department indicates that 79 percent of alumni believe D.J. Durkin will eventually surpass Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio as the winningest and highest paid coach in the division, second only to OSU's Meyer.
Maryland's D.J. Durkin's high energy and recruiting prowess give the Terps the best chance at becoming a football powerhouse in college football's toughest division.
He is more likable than Jim Harbaugh, who seems to attract more eye-rolls from the national media than any other college football coach, and is more ethical than Penn State's James Franklin, who shepherds a program that lucked its way into the conference championship game.
While Durkin has a long way to go in becoming as proven as Ohio State's Urban Meyer, it's easy to see Maryland rising to the top of the division if Durkin continues the strides he's making in recruiting.
Team to Watch: Maryland. You talk to any Terrapin coach, player, alumnus, or fan and they'll all tell you the same thing - Maryland is on the rise and could take over the Big Ten. While it may be difficult to see the Terps overtaking Urban Meyer, James Franklin, or Jim Harbaugh in 2017, don't rule it out. DMV recruits are buying what D.J. Durkin is selling.
The Washington D.C. area is home to some of the best recruits in the entire nation, and Durkin has the inside track. If Maryland can keep the talent home and convince these great prospects to play for the Terps, the sky is the limit for Durkin's program. Every year he pulls in more DMV players, the Big Ten East looks more winnable.
Who is better, Jim Harbaugh or D.J. Durkin?
Edge to Harbaugh right now, but give D.J. time.
Harbaugh may have the Super Bowl resume (even though he never actually won one), but he has failed to win even his own division. D.J. Durkin is a younger version of Harbaugh, but more energetic, more likable, and a better recruiter. Don't be surprised to see Michigan fall off the map once Harbaugh takes an NFL job, and Maryland steps into its slot.
Maryland has the toughest schedule in college football this year, should they really be taunting their divisional rivals?