COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- If you are looking for perfection on the Maryland football team, the first stop may be sophomore tight end P.J. Gallo.
Well, almost, as he carries a 3.99 GPA in the classroom, pacing all Terps off of the field. .
"One A-minus, it was a class my freshman year. A Health/Kinesioglogy type class," said Gallo, a Finance major. .
While he is almost flawless in the classroom, this spring Gallo wanted to add to his tight end resume as well, which by all accounts he did as part of a possible three-headed monster the Terps will deploy at the position in the fall. .
No longer having the luxury of a seasoned upperclassman to plug and play – like a Dave Stinebaugh last year or a Matt Furstenburg before him – Gallo upped his game this month as the Terps broke camp looking to fortify the position. .
Gallo said the unit, led by himself, sophomore Andrew Isaacs and redshirt freshman Derrick Hayward, has seen improvement as a whole, as well as his core fundamentals as he looks to lead the very young group. None of the top three entering the fall has caught a pass yet as a Terrapin. .
"Just my footwork on everything is just 100 percent better. It's something we've really concentrated on this spring and just improved a lot," Gallo said of his spring focus. .
Gallo said his first and second steps, which are crucial in blocking, and then the "top of my routes," have gotten better, along with his hands as he worked his way up. .
The 6-3, 250-pounder and former three-star recruit said he brings a set of skills to the table, starting with blocking, as do each of the three candidates in their own way. Walk-ons Brian McMahon and Eric Roca are also competing for time and had their moments in the spring as well. .
"I would say I am definitely an in-line blocking type guy. So really have concentrated on being physical in the run game, being tough, getting my nose in there and just being real physical with people in the run game," said Gallo, who played in 13 games last season but did not catch a pass. .
Gallo said his hands have improved and he only had one drop in spring scrimmage situations. That's much improved from a year ago, or even last fall, when drops were more commonplace. .
In a final-week, spring practice goal line scrimmage situation last week in Byrd, he had two TD grabs, while in the Spring Game last Friday he had two catches for 14 yards. .
Gallo is the elder statesman, so to speak, and said his understanding of the offense has helped the unit of young players. .
"Teaching them things like how exactly to do things," Gallo said. "But I think the three of us have kinda been rotating, and trying to maybe form some specialties or niches among each player." .
Said Randy Edsall last week of Gallo and the position in general: .
"The thing that I like there is we've got some guys there that can get a lot of things done. Andrew Isaacs, P.J. and Derrick, so all three of those guys have been working. And it might be one of those things where we have three guys, as I think they all bring a little bit different things to the table and all have a chance to do things for us. .
"But that's a position again… They are just young guys and they just got to keep working and improving. But they are working hard out there and getting better." .
There's plenty of athleticism and length at the position now, as Gallo broke down each player in the final week of camp. .
"Derrick is 6-6, 6-7, and he's long and he's fast and he is a vertical threat in the passing game absolutely. Andrew is a big kid and he is physical, he is strong, and he has made some nice plays in the passing game," Gallo said. .
The sophomore Gallo has kept tabs on former Terps tight ends now of NFL vintage, like Vernon Davis and more recently Matt Furstenburg, who has seen around campus a few times this spring. .
"I mean, Maryland has always had great tight ends. And that was something that definitely caught my eye when making my decision," Gallo said.
This spring Gallo noted that senior quarterback C.J. Brown threw more "catchable balls," and has upped his game. .
"We have a lot of talent on offense. Good receivers, good O-line, tight end….so it's up to the coaches," he said of the possibility of multiple tight end sets in the fall. "C.J. is having a great spring, as is Caleb and all the quarterbacks. They are throwing nice balls. They are right there. .
"And C.J. is definitely a leader now, absolutely a leader. And his ball placement and his accuracy has been really impressive." .
Meanwhile, Gallo, who wins academic awards at the team banquet each spring for top GPA, lists Financial Accounting as his favorite class. Someday he hopes to possibly get into finance, be it advising or investment banking. In his leisure time he has taken to golf of late, another discipline he hopes to one day master. .
Gallo's brother, Eric, will be an incoming freshman center at Virginia Tech this fall, and was briefly recruited by Maryland.
TE Gallo Striving for Perfection
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