Maryland Football Position Battles

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Since Maryland is absent a writer an OTE for now, I figured I'd put something together for you guys with regards to the main position battles happening in College Park. And you know, because apparently writing something is a pre-requisite to being a contributor here. Who does that?

On the offensive side of the ball, the skill positions are set except for Running Back, where there is a four person brawl for the starting gig. Last year's starter Brandon Ross is listed on the spring depth chart as a co-starter along with backups Albert Reid, Jaquille Veii, and Wes Brown. Wes Brown, who split time as a true freshman with Ross in 2012, is fresh off a semester long suspension due to off the field issues. For B1G members who know nothing about Maryland football, Brown was a bruiser as a freshman in 2012, but appears to have dropped weight in his time off. It is yet to be seen whether this translates to better or worse play, but he has played himself back into the co-starter spot already. The realistic outcome is that we probably see something close to 2012 where Ross and Brown split time depending on who has the hot hand, which is alright with me. Reid is the wild card here, as he has the agility and pass catching ability to be a real threat within the zone-read offense that Maryland will employ.

The biggest change for Maryland, on either side of the ball, will come via the Offensive Line. Maryland is bringing in a ton of fresh faces, three of which are expected to make significant contributions early on. Maryland landed highly touted Damian Prince out of the 2014 recruiting cycle, who is projected to immediately start at the RT spot as a true freshman. I would project him to the left side, but 2013 recruit and former four star tackle Derwin Gray is already slotted on the left side this spring. Gray went to a prep school for a year, which puts him in the 2014 class, but he also enrolled early allowing him to get the jump on the position. Three star juco tackle Larry Mazyck, coming from Iowa Western Community College, also attempted to enroll for the spring, but had issues getting his transcript in on time so he will not be in until Summer practice. Mazyck could potentially bump Gray or Prince inside depending on how well he translates to D1 ball, which would not be a bad thing considering the horrendous play of the Maryland line in 2013. Three fresh bodies, and a whole hell of a lot of depth that was taken in 2014 too. 2014 may be a bit of a project, but it bodes well for 2015 and beyond.

On the defensive side, the DL remains largely intact within the Maryland 3-4 scheme. Andre Monroe has bumped out to starting WDE, allowing Keith Bowers to bump inside to challenge Kilgo at NT. Other than the NT competition, which turns out great either way, DL is a non-factor in the spring. At the Will LB, the biggest challenge will be replacing departing senior Marcus Whitfields sack production. Luckily, Yannick Cudjil showed great potential last year (3 sacks in five games) prior to being injured, which allowed his true freshman backup Yannick Ngakoue to step in and also flash his potential. Cudjil is the projected starter, but in pass rushing situations DC Brian Stewary showed a pension of putting both in to provide a bump in the pressure on the QB.

The secondary largely remains settled, thanks to a rather low influx of recruits at the positions. There is an ongoing battle for the nickel CB spot, but starters Will Likely and Jeremiah Johnson are entrenched in their respective positions. Alvin Hill and Jarrett Ross (Brandons brother) are battling out for the nickel spot, with Hill flashing the best shot at winning so far in the spring.

So, on the offensive side of the ball we have the OL and RB as the only real competitions. I would guess that after summer practices, Prince and Mazyck are the bookends for Maryland while Gray pushes inside, as he would have the easiest transition due to his athleticism. Mazyck is just too large to play guard, so I could see Prince being shifted to the LT spot, and RT being manned by Mazyck. On defense the NT, Will LB, and Nickel corner positions are the only real battles of note. I'm expecting Kilgo to keep his starter spot at the NT position, but the DL is frequently subbed out so Bower will see frequent PT. I'll also go with Cudjoe-Virgil winning out the Will LB spot, with an extremely frequent package of both Yannicks in the game for the pass rush it would generate. At corner, Hill is going to win unless Ross has that light bulb moment and can translate his rumored 4.4 40 speed into great field play.

Oh, and Iowa, that AIRBHG is all yours again. He's already went through our QB and WRs, and he's an unrelenting asshole, so we've came to the B1G just to get rid of him. Because Testudo said so:

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