Surprising Name to Show Up at Spring Practice- In Uniform

Baltimore’s own Wes Brown will be at this year’s spring practice, Rivals.com reveals as part of their running backs preview.

Brown’s status was uncertain given his second suspension by the team towards the end of last season.  Many thought that he would not be back.

Despite his predilection for getting into trouble off the field, and occasional inconsistency on it, the upperclassman would be important depth for the Terrapins, and almost certain to compete for carries if he can keep his nose clean.

Brown backed up the now-graduated Brandon Ross last year and had a small but vocal fan base who called for former head coach Randy Edsall to give him more carries last year.  He got a few more under Mike Locksley, but didn’t look as good as many had hoped.  Even so, every year is another year of experience for a veteran, and another year where more of the toughest run-stoppers he faced previously have graduated from other teams and will be  replaced by younger less experienced players.

It’s unknown at this time whether or not Brown will be eligible to play from game one, or still serve out some extra enforced Saturdays off come next year, but Wes being at spring practice is a good sign.  Though Brown will face some stiff competition, including the returning sophmore Ty Johnson, senior transfer Trey Edmonds, incoming freshman Jake Funk (He of the 57 touchdowns in a single high school season fame), and others; if Brown is allowed to go through all the practices and play from day one, there is a chance he could be the featured tailback.  More likely, if he plays, he’s a role player, but he was last year’s number #2, and last year’s #1 is gone, which means he can’t be ruled out, particularly if the new coaching staff gives him a fresh start and clicks better with him from a teaching and motivational perspective.

Terps Get Their First Verbal Commitment of 2017

 

College Spun reports, and, Twitter confirms, that tight end Andrew Park has verbally committed to being the first person to join DJ Durkin’s 2017 freshman class at the University of Maryland.

Park is from Virginia, which, as we all know, is in-state recruiting for Maryland.

Urban Meyer, you stay away from this one! We’re not your advance scouting service! 😉

The Terps got the verbal despite interest in the prospect from Big Ten rival Penn State (Imagine your humble blogger trying really hard not to make the obvious joke about Penn State), and an offer from Maryland’s very special former ACC rival designate, the University of Pittsburgh (Either you get that in joke about Maryland’s “rivalry” with Pittsburgh or you don’t. It’s a long story. I’ll save it for a slow blog day 😉 ), among others.

Some sources tag Park as a 3 star recruit, while others have him down as unrated.

Sources say that the key factor in the big man’s decision was the excellent grounds-keeping at College Park. “It will likely be a walk in the park, or a walk for a Park getting from class to class,” he probably did not say.

“Hey, did somebody call my name?” Senior cornerback Will Likely  almost certainly did not interject as he was probably not walking by.

Um, anyway, Maryland got a verbal from a tight end. Putting the Park back in College Park!

I’m clearly not a graduate of Maryland’s journalism school…

What I can tell you, however, is that Park is 6’5″ and weighs 233lbs, plus or minus the weight of a celebratory dinner. I got that information here, the bad joke was all mine. 😉

Good day for Maryland football!

Great to have the next great Maryland TE in the fold.

We have a long tradition of great players at the tight-end position, including NFL star Vernon Davis.

Breaking News: Etta-Tawo Set to Transfer

247 Sports reports that senior Maryland WR Ambo Etta-Tawo is transferring out of the program.

The article speculates that the transfer may be a result of a lot of returning and incoming talent at the position, making playing time a potentially sparse commodity.

247 leaves it at that, but there are some obvious alternative or complentary possible explanations. For example, Etta-Tawo may not want to start over in Walt Bell’s new offensive system, preferring something more similar to what Mike Locksley ran last year and what he signed on for during Mike Edsall’s regime.

It’s also possible that Bell and/or new head coach DJ Durkin told him directly that he’d have to compete for playing time and that they didn’t see him as a good fit if he wasn’t going to be happy not seeing the field much.

Obviously, all of these scenarios could in theory simultaneously be true. No one scenario directly excludes the others. Transfers can be the result of a number of factors, including off the field factors that we would not be privy to at all. After all, if one is not an NFL prospect, a transfer could be motivated by academic concerns, geographic concerns, new or old relationships of any type that you need distance from or need to be closer to, etc..

In any event, though we’re sorry to see this talented young man leave the program, Maryland should be alright at his position, where there will be a lot of talent on the field next year.

We don’t know where Etta-Tawo will land yet, but what we do know is that he’ll be eligible to play right away thanks to the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. Though he will only become a senior on the football field this coming season, Etta-Tawo plans to graduate from Maryland in May. Under NCAA rules, that makes him eligible to transfer anywhere that will offer him, and to play immediately, provided that he enrolls in a graduate program there that does not have an equivalent at the University of Maryland.

Yannick Ngakoue’s Next Step

After finishing second in the Big Ten in sacks, Maryland Terrapin Yannick Ngakoue is moving on to the next level.

The Baltimore Ravens are looking for a pass rusher.

Could the state of Maryland, this time in the form of the Ravens franchise, once again be the right fit for Yannick, who tweeted last month that choosing to attend Maryland was the best decision of his life, complete with the hastag #ForeverMaryland?

Former Terps like Jermaine Lewis and Torrey Smith have had successful tenures with Baltimore’s NFL team, both winning (separate) Super Bowls as Ravens.

Here are some highlights from Ngakoue’s standout Maryland career:

 

Cardale Jones: A Cautionary Tale for Quarterbacks Thinking of Attending Ohio State

OSUOverrated

Cardale Jones is a very talented quarterback. He’d have played at least three seasons as the undisputed starter for most power five FBS D1 programs.

In an interview with Cleveland.com, ESPN’s George Whitfield described his arm in a term heretofore reserved solely for discussions about Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco: “Elite. It’s rare. […] It’s almost like you want popcorn to watch this throwing session. I haven’t seen anything like this arm and I’ve been around a lot of quarterbacks.”

So, why isn’t this guy a consensus first round draft pick in this spring’s draft?

Well, let’s look at what the Ohio State Buckeyes did to prepare and showcase him or, rather, what they didn’t do.

Out of high school, Jones didn’t academically qualify, and wound up at a military academy.

The next year, he finally made it to Columbus- and despite being a year older than the other freshman, and his cannon arm, was redshirted anyway.

So, by 2014, he was a redshirt sophmore, but, really, by the end of that year, four football seasons would have passed since the guy was actually in high school.  In 2016, he looks like he’s about 30.

Let’s stick with his (defacto double) redshirt “sophomore” season, though.

Surely, Ohio State would be ready to give him a crack at the starting job?  With that “elite” arm and all?

Nope.  Third stringer at the beginning of that year- Third.  Stringer.

However, the football gods smiled on Mr. Jones, and, thanks to an injury to starter JT Barrett, Jones finally got his chance against #11 ranked Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game (No pressure 😉 ).

How’d he do?  Well, Ohio State 59 Wisconsin 0 says it all.  Then he won a playoff game, and the NCAA FBS Championship.

So, you know, you’d think he’d be the starter in 2015, right?

Nope.  Well, not quite, anyway.  He and JT Barrett were in competition all off-season, and, last I saw them, they were splitting time against the Terrapins.  By mid-October, he was holding a clipboard on the Buckeyes’ bench.

So, how much have NFL scouts really seen of this guy?  He should be a first round pick, but, he isn’t, because he went to Ohio State.

Today, news broke that he’s got a hamstring pull, and can’t throw at the NFL combine.  He may not be ready for Ohio State’s pro day in a few weeks.  No last minute chances to impress scouts and GMs.

Going to Ohio State delayed the start of his NFL career by several years, will cost him several million dollars because he’ll be drafted lower than he otherwise would be, and may not have adequately prepared him for league play.

Whitfield, again, this time quoted by NBC from an ESPN interview: “There’s been two main areas we’re trying to work with with Cardale.  His footwork, for one, has been under construction since he landed in San Diego. Bringing him from the shotgun up under center, just the mechanics of coming out with the center exchange, the first step from under center, three steps, five steps, seven-step drops.”.

Gee, you’d think someone would have taught them those things in, I don’t know, the 78 years he’s been in college?

Great job, Ohio State coaching staff.

Maybe Dwayne Haskins should have thought twice before making the biggest mistake of his life.  It’s okay, though, if he works hard and gets that Ohio State degree, he should be supremely qualified for work at a least one internationally known establishment.

Update: A UPI article notes that Cardale is currently projected as a 4th or 5th round draft pick.

 

The DMV Gets Larger

There has always been some debate over what constitutes the DMV for the purposes of the Maryland Pride movement, which aims to keep local football recruits home and playing for the University of Maryland.  Is it the entire state of Maryland plus Washington DC?  The Washington metro area, which includes only parts of Maryland, but also DC and Northern Virginia?  The entire state of Maryland plus  DC and Northern Virginia?  A large swath of the Mid-Atlantic region?

Well, Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell has helpfully, almost literally, drawn us a map:

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I like it. 🙂

Take that Confederacy, we’ve absorbed your old capitol into a Union state! 😉

It’s a maximalistic approach to what local is, and an ambitious plan of attack for the new staff.  It’s not unrealistic, though.  Maryland’s coaching staff includes top recruiter and former University of Virginia head coach Mike London, among many others.  People on our staff have ties to that region, and of course we are by far the closest Big Ten school to all of those areas.

If you live in even the most northern and most southern most tiers of that region, you’re getting Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals (baseball) games on television during baseball season, and Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards (Pro hockey and basketball) games during the fall, winter, and early spring.  Football coverage is done differently, but the whole region gets either the Baltimore Ravens or the Washington Redskins or both most weeks of the football season (The mix varying depending on where you are, exactly), and both of those teams play in Maryland (The Ravens, as you might imagine, have their home in Baltimore City, and, perhaps less predictably if you don’t already know the answer, the Redskins in Landover, MD, despite their name reflecting an affiliation with the capitol).

This is our home recruiting territory. 🙂

And, personally, as a Marylander, I like the idea of painting adjoining territory in our state colors. 🙂

base

Might I suggest adding South-Central Pennsylvania?

It’s in the Chesapeake Bay water basin, and York and some other cities close to the border are practically bedroom communities for Baltimore (Meaning people live up there and commute to work by driving down I-83 every morning and back up I-83 in the evening).

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Source for the map: https://twitter.com/coachwaltbell/status/698281521837379584