How do the Maryland Terrapins turn around a long mediocre program? A quick look around its own backyard tells the story of the “how” for D.J. Durkin and the Terps program.
If Durkin’s first full recruiting cycle is any indication, the Big Ten may want to look out. Durkin’s class was the No. 18 ranked team in the country and the No 4 class in the conference according to 247Sports. Eight four-star players were amongst a class that had 28 players in it.
The simple numbers tell us that this class is going to have a big impact on the future of the Maryland football program. Whether that impact is positive or negligible will likely tell us all we need to know about the Durkin era in College Park.
If this class is successful, Durkin’s era is going to go for a while. But, which players are likely to have the most immediate impact on the squad in 2017? Let’s take a look at few names you should know right away.
Deon Jones, CB
Not only is Jones one of just seven players in this class to come on board for the spring semester, he is the only four-star player that was in early in this class. It doesn’t hurt that Jones also fills a major need for depth and productivity in the secondary.
We’ve seen impactful performances from true freshman at the cornerback position before across the Big Ten. Jones’ film was certainly impressive, but there were a lot of impressive moments from him this spring.
His spring has given some the indication that Jones is a likely opening day starting cornerback for this team. The combination of his skill set and the lack of production from the group returning to the fold make those indications easier to believe. Even if he doesn’t end up a starter, don’t be surprised to see him on the field a ton in 2017.
Jones has the talent level to make people forget about Will Likely, and could be the next two-way player as well. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he played both cornerback and wide receiver at the high school level and there are a lot of questions at both positions. Perhaps that dream scenario doesn’t happen in 2017, but the athletic ability is certainly there to perhaps get there in the coming years.
Kasim Hill, QB
Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without the one player everyone in the country is talking about. Hill may just walk in and take over as the starting quarterback for Walt Bell’s offense.
You don’t have to believe me, just look at what Bell was saying about his quarterbacks after spring ball was complete. But, it appears the battle will likely come down to Henderson and Hill.
Hill possesses a great arm, is super intelligent with the football and has more speed than some are giving him credit for. In other words, he’s the exact type of quarterback Bell has in mind for his offense. About the only question here is when, not if Hill will be the Terps starting quarterback.
My guess is that we’ll see Caleb Henderson start early on, sputter a bit and Hill will eventually have the redshirt pulled. But, I also won’t be surprised to see Hill go out and win the job as the most talented player in the room.
Depth in the secondary is a major concern for the Terps in 2017. One answer to that problem seems to be the No. 7 ranked athlete in the 2017 class, who also happened to follow in the footsteps of cornerback Deon Jones and enrolled early.
Coming out of spring ball, Bell appears to be a great fit at safety and is likely in the mix for a spot on the two-deep at strong safety. His range and ball-hawking skills are exactly what Maryland needs to turn things completely loose in Durkin’s defense.
Oh, and did we forget to mention that he may also be exactly what the special teams needs in replacing the dynamic Will Likely as a return man? One look at his film and you see a player very comfortable as a punt returner at the very least. He could get in the mix there during fall camp and may be a way to get him on the field more in 2017.
Breyon Gaddy, DE
Much like Hill earlier in this piece, Gaddy comes to the Maryland campus in the summer and has a lot of hype behind him as a potential game-changer for the defensive line. The four-star prospect comes to the Terps from one of Virginia’s best programs — Bishop Sullivan Catholic in Virginia Beach.
Players are often quicker to adjust to the college game thanks to the pipeline of college-ready athletes they compete with and against on a daily basis. It doesn’t hurt that he comes to college as a 6-5, 335-pound monster of a defensive tackle.
With three starters gone from the line last year and 38 sacks from that group in 2016, there is a big chance (no pun intended) that Gaddy’s play at the second big man spot on the 3-4 defensive line is going to be needed. Look for him to get plenty of playing time and if it all goes well I’d expect him to be a starter or at least playing those kind of snaps by the end of the season.
In fact, I dare say he might be the one that has the biggest impact on the 2017 season from this class.
Maryland at Ohio State: Is Maryland Ready To Close The Gap?
When: Sat. Oct. 7; 4:00 pm ET
Where: Columbus, OH; Ohio Stadium (104,944)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Ohio State won 62-3 last year
Line: Ohio State (-31)
Join our Andy Coppens as we take an in-depth look at the questions to be answered, key stats to watch and of course the key players as the Maryland Terrapins travel West for a matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Some wonder just where the Terps place is in the Big Ten pecking order…we’ve got the answer…well sorta.
Kasim Hill’s injury spells end to promising 2017 for Terps
Maryland’s worst fears were realized on Tuesday as a second quarterback is out for the year with an ACL tear.
One thing was made abundantly clear following Kasim Hill’s injury on Saturday afternoon against UCF. This team needs a dynamic quarterback to be a winner.
The worst of fears about the extent of Hill’s injury were realized on Tuesday, as head coach D.J. Durkin announced Hill had suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He suffered the injury after throwing just one pass for 8 yards in the first quarter of the game.
UCF was going to be Hill’s stiffest test on defense, but he never had a chance to get going as this injury happened so suddenly and so early in the game.
Durkin let us know that Hill’s character was already shining through in this tough situation while addressing the media on Tuesday.
“He’ll bounce back,” said Durkin “He’s got a bright future in football both here and beyond. I think that’s pretty clear. That guy’s a phenomenal talent and that doesn’t even compare to the type of person he is. He’s got a great attitude about it, he’s looking this thing right in the face saying let’s go get it. He’ll have surgery, rehab and be back with us when time allows.”
On Saturday, junior Max Bortenschlager stepped up in Hill’s place. Let’s just say there is a reason he was third on the depth chart heading in to the season.
Bortenschlager isn’t that dynamic quarterback Maryland needs to be successful to say the least, throwing for just 132 yards and a touchdown to two interceptions against the Knights on Saturday.
Sure, he didn’t have the luxury of a full-week of game prep, but he’s been the backup quarterback since Week 1 and should’ve been ready to go in to the game. He’s also had plenty of experience coming off the bench and being part of a quarterback rotation prior to this weekend.
The problem is, Maryland’s formula for winning this season has largely been based off of a dynamic quarterback who can keep defenses honest, run the ball and thus allow the rest of the running backs room to roam too.
Now what for the Terps offense and the 2017 season?
It is time for Walt Bell to totally re-think his offensive scheme going forward. Whether it is Bortenschlager or even Caleb Henderson taking the snaps going forward, both are better suited as pocket passers than spread read-option first quarterbacks.
It’s like the Terps have to flip their offensive 180 degrees and must do so with no time to prepare ahead of the Big Ten season.
Maryland’s saving grace here? Well, it may be in the fact that having to go through quarterbacks like it is going out of style is actually old hat for them. This weekend will mark the fourth time in six seasons that the Terps have had to start three different quarterbacks in the same season.
Is it any wonder they haven’t been successful in the past, and seem to be dead in the water for 2017 too?
We’ll see if the run game is enough to carry this team to bowl eligibility, because the Terps defense seems unable to stop anyone so far this season.
But, it is hard to see Hill’s injury as anything but completely devastating to Maryland’s chances of contending at all in 2017.
UCF Knights at Maryland Terrapins: Preview, predictions and prognostications
Maryland and UCF played a wild one in 2016. Can we expect more of the offensive fireworks in the re-match?
What’s better than feasting your eyes on our weekly previews here at talking10? How about feasting your eyes and ears too? That’s exactly what we’ll bring each week going forward as we flip our previews over to talking10TV every week.
Same great formula, just a new format.
Up first is our look at the UCF Knights traveling to College Park, Md. to take on the Maryland Terrapins.
When: Sat.; Sept. 23; 3pm ET
Where: College Park, Md.; Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (51,802)
All-Time Series: Maryland leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Terps 30, UCF 24 (2ot) (2016)
Line: Maryland (-4)
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Our Philip Rossman-Reich breaks down the game for you.
talking10 Power Poll: Surprises galore in Week 1 poll
We’re back…after a long offseason, the staff is finally back to watching football, crunching numbers and giving you our opinions on all things Big Ten football.
It also means our weekly staff Power Poll is back as well.
This season we’ve got five staff members voting every week. That includes the following names:
Andy Coppens – @AndyOnFootball
Phil Harrison – @PhilHarrisonCFB
Philip Rossmann-Reich – @RiseNU
Dave Fitzgerald – @BuckeyeFitzy
Zach Worthington – @Worthyton
Normally the opening week of the season provides little in the way of knowledge, but that certainly wasn’t the case in 2017. Dare we say the first week of action for the Big Ten was highly entertaining?
You can say that, and we did over at the #B1GRewind Show.
But, how did all of that excitement shake out when it came time to vote? Let’s take a look at the official poll for Week 1:
Let’s just say things were a bit wackier than usual, huh?
- Only three teams lost this week, yet it was a winner, Illinois, coming up dead last and it wasn’t even close. The Illini’s unimpressive three-point win was also our winner for “Disappointment of the Week” on the #B1GRewind show…so perhaps their last place finish in the power poll this week was really warranted. It also appears that hanging tough with ranked teams meant a lot to our voters.
- While the rest of the college football world is in love with Ohio State…our staff is much more in love with the Nittany Lions…well not “much more” but they won out with three first place votes and OSU falling outside the top two in one voters mind.
- It appears there is going to be an interesting battle for the middle of the pack over the next few weeks. Michigan State was No. 7 in this poll, but had just a three-point lead on No. 10 Nebraska. Let’s just say the next few weeks should shake out the middle a bit more.
- Speaking of close fights…the battle between Michigan and Wisconsin for the third spot should be an interesting one indeed. Can Wisconsin’s offense keep up the high-scoring and keep UW ahead or will Michigan’s exciting youth movement grow up fast enough to challenge for the top of the East division and thus our poll as well?