Maryland coach Randy Edsall isn’t going to allow three ex-Terrapin football players — quarterback Danny O’Brien, O-lineman Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson — to transfer to Vanderbilt. They can pay their own way if they want to go to Vandy. They can appeal the coach’s decision. But he’s not going to give them a pass to go to VU, any ACC school, or any school on the Terps’ upcoming schedule.
Yesterday, we suggested that Edsall likely felt O’Brien in particular had contacted ex-Maryland offensive coordinator and current Commodore coach James Franklin about a move to Nashville’s West End. Now Edsall himself has opened up about the stipulations he placed on the players and indeed it sounds like he thinks there might have been some tampering:
“We had stipulations in there, the same schools for all three of them. And so neither of the three were treated any differently than the other guys. And again, I’m not gonna get into the names or anything like that [of] the schools that we put on there, because as we talked to the players, it was a situation where we said that we would keep that amongst ourselves.
But usually what’ll end up happening is there’s gonna be schools on there that you might compete against, or if there’s things that you feel might have taken place, you might put schools on that list. So we have that prerogative, to put those schools on the list. The players have the prerogative that if they want to appeal that, that they can appeal that as well.”
The most-important line: “… or if there’s things that you feel might have taken place.” This kind of hanky-panky is nothing new. No player will transfer from School X to School Y without having some knowledge of what his role on his new team might be. In this case, Edsall must feel that Franklin went a bit too far in chatting with his former Maryland protege.
But this is a PR battle Edsall can’t win. Ultimately, he’s not going to be playing Vandy. Maryland fans will back him, but the rest of the populace will view him as being too punitive toward three kids he didn’t recruit to College Park in the first place. And he doesn’t help his cause by providing generic statements like this: “I think there’s always a feeling that ‘Hey, we have the right to do what we need to do, and the player has the right to do what he needs to do, in terms of the appeal process.’ And you know, that’s how it goes.”
O’Brien has been mentioned in connection with a number of other schools — Ole Miss and Wisconsin among them. Garcia — a Georgia native — is being pursued by UGA, Florida, and South Carolina. There’s no clear word on Rowson’s plans.