Fall camp begins for Maryland Aug. 4, and while there will undoubtedly be several changes to the depth chart before the season begins, the Terps have already shaken things up a bit with their new preseason depth chart, released July 22.
Here’s our take on some of the changes made from the February list:
Quarterbacks: C.J. Brown, Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills, Shane Cockerille, Will Ulmer
Rowe’s No. 2
Senior C.J. Brown is entrenched as the starter, and it’s no surprise that Caleb Rowe is now the clear backup ahead of Perry Hills. Previously both Rowe and Hills were listed as co-No. 2s, but it was only a matter of time before the big-armed Rowe seized the spot. Rowe wasn’t a world-beater this spring, but he's got that hair-trigger release, and he did outperform Hills, and it’s no surprise the former is now the backup.
Running Backs: Wes Brown or Albert Reid of Brandon Ross or Jacquille Veii; Joe Riddle, Tehuti Miles
Four Up Top at RB
One of the main storylines during fall camp will be who claims the top running back spot, because right now the depth chart lists four co-starters. Sophomore Wes Brown, who is back in the fold following his suspension, could be the leader in the clubhouse if he remains healthy and finally realizes his potential. He is the most versatile, explosive runner on the roster, though he still has much to prove and missed the spring when Brandon Ross was the main workhorse, despite missing the scrimmage at North Point High School with an injury. Ross has improved each season, and could be the starter early on if he holds up.
Juniors Ross and Albert Reid are both fairly similar in style –- bigger backs who aren’t flashy but can grind out yards. Both were solid though showed nothing spectacular during the spring. Sophomore Jacquille Veii, meanwhile, has the capability to make plays in the open field, squirt through holes and break away, so he’s a darkhorse candidate to steal away carries from the veterans as he has some make-you-miss ability the others don't.
Fullbacks: Kenny Goins, Tyler Cierski, Andrew Stefanelli
This remains status quo from the spring, when Kenny Goins beat out the injured Cierski for the starting job.
Receivers: Starters: Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Marcus Leak; Backups Levern Jacobs, Nigel King, Taivon Jacobs, Daniel Adams, Amba Etta-Tawo, Malcolm Culmer, DeAndre Lane, Juwann Winfree
Leak Ahead of King
Leak returned to the team after missing last year back home in North Carolina due to personal issues, and now the sophomore is listed as a starter. He’s got the skills, for sure, but we’ll see if he can hang onto that spot by the time the season begins.
Junior Levern Jacobs and sophomore Amba Etta-Tawo showed flashes last year, despite inconsistencies with drops, and will inevitably push for time. Meanwhile, junior Nigel King remains a boatload of waiting-to-be-tapped potential and is the top blocker, and freshman burner Taivon Jacobs has the tools to unseat any of the aforementioned veterans.
Preseason honors candidates junior Stefon Diggs and senior Deon Long are healthy and entrenched as the top two wideouts, but one of the more heated camp battles should be who ultimately seizes that final starting spot.
Tight End: P.J. Gallo or Derrick Hayward; Andrew Isaacs
Who’s The Tight End?
Sophomore P.J. Gallo was the assumed starter at tight end, but right now he’s listed as the co-No. 1 with freshman Derrick Hayward. Hayward didn’t exactly “wow” with his hands during the spring, while Gallo is the top blocker/in-line guy. We’d also expect sophomore Andrew Isaacs to be given serious consideration, with his size and athleticism, even though he’s listed as a backup for now. Isaacs and Hayward are the best athletes, but now it's time for them to refine their blocking and get more physical.
Offensive Line: LT Mike Dunn, Jake Wheeler, Damian Prince; LG Silvano Altamirano or Evan Mulrooney, Mike Minter; C Sal Conaboy, Stephen Gommer, Joe Marchese; RG Andrew Zeller, Jujuan Dulaney, Marcus Shelton; RT Ryan Doyle, Derwin Gray
Doyle and Dunn Flip
Sophomore Mike Dunn has moved from right guard to right tackle and now left tackle during the course of his Maryland career. This is speculation on our part, but Dunn is widely considered one of the most cerebral offensive linemen on the roster, alongside center Sal Conaboy. Considering the left tackle position is more of a technical, finesse spot that requires just as much brains as brawn, it makes sense to shift Dunn to that side of the line. On top of that, Dunn is left-handed, and that actually may aid him when pass blocking at left tackle as opposed to right tackle.
It follows, then, that junior Ryan Doyle shifts from the left side to the right side, where he’s now the right tackle ahead of incoming freshman Derwin Gray. Unfortunately, Gray missed the spring following shoulder surgery, which put his development back after arriving midyear from prep school as a former four-star Under Armour All-American lineman.
Left Guard Up For Grabs
This wasn’t really a change from the spring depth chart, but so far neither senior Silvano Altamirano nor junior Evan Mulrooney have seized the left guard spot. Mulrooney, recall, wasn’t able to beat out Conaboy for the center spot and was then shifted to guard several months back. Mulrooney, once considered perhaps the second-most reliable lineman on the roster, may still be in the process of making the transition, because he has yet to separate himself from an inconsistent Altamirano.
Defensive Line: DE Quinton Jefferson, Malik Jones, Spencer Myers; NT Keith Bowers or Darius Kilgo, Azubuike Ukandu; DE Andre Monroe, Roman Braglio, Kingsley Opara
Bowers Pushing Kilgo
The defensive line looks fairly status quo, except for that “or” word next to Darius Kilgo’s name at nose tackle. The presumed starting three up front were junior Quinton Jefferson, senior Andre Monroe and senior Darius Kilgo, but right now senior veteran Keith Bowers is listed right atop the chart alongside the incumbent Kilgo. Maybe that’s just head coach Randy Edsall’s way of creating more competition and lighting a fire under Kilgo, though we’ll have to see how it plays out. Either way, we expect both to receive ample playing time, regardless of who actually starts.
Linebackers: OLB Matt Robinson, Alex Twine, Cavon Walker, Avery Thompson; ILB Cole Farrand, Jermaine Carter, Brock Dean, Tyler Burke; ILB LA Goree, Jalen Brooks, Matt Gillespie, Abner Logan; OLB Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, Yannik Ngakoue, Clarence Murphy, Chandler Burkett
Nothing To See Here
This remains consistent with the previous depth chart, aside from Chandler Burkett shifting from the defensive line to linebacker.
Defensive Backs: CB Will Likely, Jeremiah Johnson, Undray Clark; S Sean Davis, A.J. Hendy; S Anthony Nixon, Zach Dancel, Denzel Conyers; CB Alvin Hill, Jarrett Ross
Hill Earns Starting Spot
The biggest “upset” on the new depth chart was junior Alvin Hill claiming a starting cornerback job opposite sophomore Will Likely. Hill drew plenty of praise this spring and was clearly one of the most improved and impressive defensive backs in camp. He was summarily rewarded by being placed atop the depth chart, ahead of senior J.J. Johnson, who missed nearly all of last season with an injury and the spring as well.
Johnson will probably have a legitimate shot to win his spot back this August, but if Hill continues to perform at a high level the assumed starter Johnson might be relegated to a nickel role.
Conyers At Safety
Recall, late signee Denzel Conyers was initially recruited as a cornerback, but he’s listed at safety on the depth chart. Perhaps he wasn’t fast enough to hang at corner, or perhaps he’ll be expect to fill a nickel or dime role, which can be filled by either a cornerback or safety.
Analyzing UMD's Depth Chart Changes
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