For as long as Will Ulmer can remember, Maryland has been his favorite college football team. The Terps' well-documented struggles never seemed to bother the St. John's (D.C.) quarterback.
Even as Ulmer began to accumulate scholarships from college football powers across the country, the Laurel native kept coming back to his strong feelings about the program down the road in College Park.
"[I was just thinking about] staying home and being a local guy / local star just doing it for the hometown team," Ulmer said Wednesday. "Just like all those Florida guys and Texas guys, you don't see a lot of them going out of state. They rep their city."
Ulmer decided last week to follow that model, committing to the Terps over 23 other schools, including finalists Nebraska and Ohio State. Six days after making his pledge, the four-star prospect couldn't be happier with his decision.
"I'm actually very at peace with it," Ulmer said. "Every time I go up there I felt more and more comfortable."
A 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior, Ulmer joined the Cadets' varsity team as a sophomore, backing up quarterback Ben Onett, who now plays for Monmouth. It didn't take long for St. John's coach Joe Patterson to realize that he had a future BCS signal-caller on his roster.
"Sophomore year, he came off the bench in the fourth quarter against DeMatha and engineered a long drive at the end of the game," Patterson recalled. "He came up just a few yards short, but the poise that he showed in that situation, I think, gave us all an indication that he was going to be special."
Over the offseason last year, Ulmer made improvements in his game that Patterson thought "were quite extensive." The progress was evident on the field, as Ulmer threw for 642 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a WCAC-leading 1,232 yards and 15 scores.
Maryland prioritized Ulmer early in the recruiting cycle, making it clear to him that he was their top choice at quarterback. When he enrolls at College Park in the summer of 2014, he'll join a roster that should feature five other scholarship quarterbacks: C.J. Brown (who received a medical redshirt), Ricardo Young, Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Shane Cockerille.
Ulmer said he's looking forward to joining the crowded depth chart next fall.
"I want to come in and play right away and compete," he said. "I love competition."
A self-professed dual-threat quarterback, Ulmer described his relationships with coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as "tight." The Terps coaches sold him on eventually being "the center of the program." Before that happens, Ulmer will relay a simple pitch to other local recruits.
"[I'll tell recruits that] 'I'm a great quarterback, we're going to be good,'" Ulmer said. "'Come play with the team.'"
The response to Ulmer's commitment has been overwhelmingly positive among his friends and family. The future Terp is looking forward to his upcoming transition from Maryland fan to Maryland quarterback.
"Everyone is pretty thrilled. I'm thrilled for them to be able to be their quarterback," Ulmer said. "I'm going to do my best and make everyone proud."