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.

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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.

This Walt Bell Fan Favorite Tweeting Tactic is No Longer Allowed

247 Sports reports that the NCAA has banned a practice known as “subtweeting”.  Essentially, subtweeting is the practice of obliquely referencing a recruit by inference without using his name or twitter handle.

The article cites an example where a coach has dinner with a recruit who’s nickname is “The Shark” and tweets out a picture of all the food on the dinner table with the caption “A meal fit for a Shark!!!”.

Keen observers may recall that Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell did something similar prior to signing day this year.  When 3-star quarterback Tyrell Pigrome came to the area for a visit, he referenced “a pig flying” into DC.  Shortly thereafter, he tweeted out a picture of a t-shirt featuring an outline of a pig (the animal) filled in with a Maryland flag.

Fortunately for Bell, and for Maryland Terrapins supporters everywhere, those tweets were made before this rule was implemented, and thus are entirely kosher (Well, if you disregard the pigs… pork is never kosher 😉 ).  Just don’t expected to see similarly creative tweets next year if we wind up pursuing recruits with names like Peter Rhinoceros or Timmy “T” Rex. 🙂

* Those last two names are made up.

Meet Second Generation Maryland Star Trey Edmunds

Lost in all the (quite understandable) press coverage of signing day and the entire recruiting process leading up to it is that University of Maryland have a new player who’s much more likely to see the field at the beginning of the 2016 season than any individual true freshman recruit.  His name is Trey Edmunds.

Edmunds was originally a 4-star recruit for the Virginia Tech Hokies at running back, turning down offers from Maryland (Everyone makes mistakes), North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State (Good call turning that one down), Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and West Virginia according to rivals.com.

He took his 6’2″ frame and added almost 20 pounds of muscle over the years.

His college career at Tech got off to a nice start in 2013, averaging 4.1 yards a carry.

Here he is reeling off his first career touchdown against #1 ranked Alabama:

With 2014, his sophomore year, came an increase from that 4.1 yards a carry average his freshman year, to an even more impressive 4.6 yards a carry.  However, unlike in his freshman year, where that statistic is based on 166 total carries, his sophomore stat comes from only 21 attempts, which is roughly a single game’s worth of carries.  As a junior, he got less than 50 attempts.

So, here we had a player who was highly rated out of high school and who displayed some great potential and had some amount of success as a freshman, who barely saw the field the next two years.

What happened?

Well, first a broken tibia happened.

Then, a pair of freshman stole his job, prompting a site called Gobbler Country to declare him a man without a country, and if Gobbler Country is the code for Virginia Tech, and that’s the country they’re talking about, maybe it’s true that he was a man without *a* particular country.

However, he never lost his job on the field.  He lost it while he was off the field.

We don’t know, of course, what happened at closed Hokies practices, but we know the man has talent, and we know he has been productive when he’s actually gotten into game situations.

In fact, the talent is literally in his blood.  His father, Farrell Edmunds, is a Maryland Terrapins legend who went on to play for the Miami Dolphins, and his brothers Tremaine and Terrell are both current Virginia Hokies.

Having lost Brandon Ross to graduation, and Wes Brown to a suspension that may close out his Terrapins career, the Terps were looking for leadership at the tailback position, and should get it thanks to Edmonds’ senior transfer to the University of Maryland after graduating from Tech.

Of course, he won’t be without competition at Maryland.  Sophomore Ty Johnson returns, and the Terps have three freshman running backs who’ve signed letters of intent, including local Damascus, MD sensation Jake Funk, who scored over 50 touchdowns in his senior year of high school.  That’s not a typo, over 50 touchdowns in one season. 

Obviously, high school competition is high school competition (i.e. not necessarily indicative of future success), and Funk grades out below Maryland’s other two 2016 freshman commits at his position (All three stars, but there are percentiles even within those broad categories), as well as below Edmunds’ 4 star rating from when first came out of high school (Ty Johnson was a 3-star athlete coming out of high school).  However, 50+ touchdowns is 50+ touchdowns- I don’t care if you’re playing in a beer league, that’s extremely impressive.

Funk is considered a little slow for the next level, and he’s going to need to add some muscle to hold up as the downhill runner he projects as, but he’s got a great weightroom at College Park, a great coaching staff, and of course Trey Edmonds, who added weight of his own to compete in college, as a potential mentor.

It’s good bet that Edmunds will see the field next year.  He could be the starter.  He could just be a situational or a change of pace back.  But he’s very likely to get significant carries.  And his senior leadership and his background growing up around the game will be significant for the Terrapins.

With four four-star offensive linemen who are really big fellows, and some questions at the quarterback position, if I were new Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell, I’d be tempted to line up in the Power-I and let the linemen create holes for the running backs to churn through.  As the running backs rotate in and out grinding out yards, it’d keep the opposing offenses off the field, giving them fewer chances to score, and the opposing defenses on the field (Wearing them down so 2-4 yard gains become 5, 10, 20 yard gains and beyond by the 4th quarter).
Walt Bell from all indications isn’t going to do that.  He’s got an uptempo style of offense that likes to keep things moving.  While that’s not my style, it’s an exciting style that worked well for him at Arkansas State, and, unlike many coordinators who go uptempo, Bell isn’t afraid to run the ball when the situation or personnel dictates it.  He may not like eating time off the clock, but he doesn’t wind running some plays out of the pro set or even a three-wide with a run-blocking offensive line scheme, and handing the ball off.  His running backs do get carries.

 

Trey  Edmunds is eager to show Walt Bell and the rest of the Big Ten that Virginia Tech made a mistake when they didn’t give him a chance to regain his starting position after he was injured.

 

Maryland head coach DJ Durkin says everything’s a competition and the best players will play.

 

Ring the bell.  The competition begins with spring practice.  Edmunds will be ready to go.