- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005

The nation’s top defensive end, a quarterback from California and some speedy receivers helped Maryland finish with the nation’s 18th-best football recruiting class yesterday.

Maryland brought in 10 of the state’s top 12 players, plus four from Florida and New Jersey among 24 recruits who signed letters of intent. There was only one recruit rated as a five star by recruiting services, but four were four stars and 15 were three stars. Seven were All-Americans, and four were among the top 25 at their positions.

Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen said the recent 5-6 season didn’t have as much negative impact as he had feared. Maryland had 31 victories over his first three years.

“Some doors were shut on us, but not as many because we established a track record,” Friedgen said. “Did we get everybody we wanted? We probably missed on one. You never get them all, but this area has to be our primary area.”

Defensive end Melvin Alaeze of Randallstown, Md., is the gem. Ranked as the nation’s leading pass rusher by Rivals.com and ESPN, Alaeze was the No.13 prospect overall. The MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl could play as a freshman.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (White Plains, Md.) was recruited heavily after spending last season at Hargrave Military Academy. Friedgen spoke of Gaither becoming the future cornerstone of the line.

Quarterback Chris Turner of West Hills, Calif., showed how the Terps’ national profile has grown. Louisville and Syracuse also recruited the dropback passer, who threw 30 touchdown passes as a junior. Friedgen downplayed Turner’s chances of starting next season but said he would have a better idea about the front-runner after the Red-White spring game April30.

Maryland should get immediate help at receiver with five incoming freshmen. The Terps concentrated on speed, with Nolan Carroll (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) and Terrell Skinner (St. Petersburg, Fla.) expected to make a quick impact.

Maryland signed twins Tommy and Dwight Galt IV, sons of Terps strength coach Dwight Galt III. The pair were standouts at Good Counsel High School, with Dwight doubling as a deep snapper and defensive end and Tommy playing tight end.

Notes — The Terps will focus on offensive linemen and defensive backs for 2006. … Dan Hickson was named assistant recruiting coordinator.

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