The significance of his commitment to Maryland wasn’t lost on Jared Cohen. The McDonogh offensive lineman is the first Terps pledge in the 2014 class – a group that will never play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“It feels really cool,” said Cohen, who committed to Maryland on Monday. “I haven’t really been able to be a part of something like that in my lifetime. I really hope that it turns out to be a really good legacy of the first person to commit … [to] the first [Maryland] class that’s going to be in the Big Ten. It’s a little overwhelming to think about the expectations, but I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”
Cohen, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound junior, made his decision shortly after visiting College Park for a Junior Day event. Cohen said he wasn’t a “big follower of college football” growing up, but he always had good feelings toward “the hometown school.” Being on campus with his parents last weekend confirmed those positive vibes.
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“They’re really excited,” said Cohen, who visited Maryland last fall for the William & Mary game. “All my friends, they’re really excited for me. [They’ll] be able to watch me play football on TV, which is pretty cool. My family is really excited for me. Mom and Dad went to Junior Day. They fell in love with it as much as I did … [and] supported me 100 percent.”
Cohen started his high school football career on North Carroll’s junior varsity. He transferred to McDonogh for his sophomore year and teamed up with Terps redshirt freshman defensive end Roman Braglio – then a high school senior – on the Eagles’ O-line.
“I ran into him at Junior Day, talked to him for a little bit,” Cohen said. “I asked him if he made a good decision going to Maryland. He committed early, too. That was one of the things I was worried about – committing too early or not. He had nothing but good things to say. He was happy with his decision. He loves the school, loves the football [and has] nothing but good things to say about Maryland.”
Before his junior season, Cohen said he gained “20 or 30 pounds” and got “a lot stronger.” The weight gain proved to be a good move for Cohen, who earned MIAA A Conference first-team honors, was selected to The Baltimore Sun All-Metro second-team offense, and was named a third-team All-State honoree.
“Throughout football season, I just felt like a man amongst boys,” he said. “I just felt I dominated practice and everybody I played against. It was a really good year. I definitely put in a lot of work in practice this season. I felt like it paid off.”
The Maryland coaches told Cohen that he’ll play guard or center in College Park. Until then, the future Terp plans to do some recruiting of other local 2014 prospects, and “keep working hard” in preparation of Maryland’s big move.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing in the Big Ten against some of the best competition in college football,” Cohen said. “I kind of look at it as a rebuilding process. It wasn’t the best season last year due to injuries, but I’m excited to see what the school can do. We’ve got good recruiting classes the past couple years. I’m excited to see what we can do.”