Fall Camp Positional Preview: Quarterbacks

In anticipation of fall camp this August, we're previewing each position and breaking down where things stand with Maryland as it heads into it's inaugural Big Ten campaign. Here's a look at the quarterbacks:

Six years in the program. Three years in Randy Edsall's program. Two years in Mike Locksley's offensive system.

It all adds up for Maryland post-grad quarterback C.J. Brown, who above all else has seen his "football IQ" and comfort level in the Terps offense skyrocket of late.

Brown leads the Terps offense under Locksley onto the field in their inaugural Big Ten season this fall, and it's finally come together for the now-healthy signal-caller.

Brown has bounced back from debilitating shoulder and knee surgeries to hit stride, and he has a boatload of weapons at the skill spots to hopefully make a splash in the first Big Ten go-round.

With the enhanced IQ has come improved ability to read defenses get the Terps into their offense quickly, be it in the zone-read look, which he runs so well with 4.5 40-yard-dash speed, or through the air, where he has become a more accurate thrower because he knows where to get the ball. Last season his completion rate jumped nearly 10 percentage points from his last full season.

Brown has also shored up his footwork, cut down on a somewhat elongated throwing motion, and despite an up and down spring mostly because he could not run the offense "live" (he was non-contact), most believe he has taken the next step and is ready for a break-out type of season.

Who knows how much more successful he could have been had he not absorbed that wicked hit to the head at FSU in Game Five last season, with the Terps 4-0 and Brown beginning to hit stride before getting leveled at the No. 8 Seminoles in more than one way.

Brown, who threw for 2,242 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 576 yards and 12 scores in 2013, is the dual-threat Locksley's offense needs to have to hum, especially this year in the Big Ten and with the O-line thin again. The zone-read and quick hitters to all of Maryland's dangerous weapons -- be it All-American receiver Stefon Diggs to Deon Long -- in space to do their thing after-the-catch should allow the Terps to put points on the board. Keeping defenses honest will be Brown's great ability and feel to tuck it and run. Last year he completed 58.9 percent of his passes while throwing seven picks. His intermediate and deep throws/touch have improved with each season, and he certainly has some home-run threats this fall with a top 10 national receiving corps awaiting.

Behind him, junior Caleb Rowe (6-3, 215) is No. 2 on the depth chart, and he's still ramping up fully in the "football IQ" department, making strides but not all the way there yet. Cleary the strongest armed and quickest release quarterback on campus, Rowe has the physical tools in place. His mastery and command of the offense, and where to get the ball and when, continues, but there is no denying he can be a gunslinger in a quick-strike offense.

Rowe played in seven games last season and threw for 989 yards and five touchdowns while completing 48.9 percent of his throws. He was intercepted three times, cutting down on some of the mental miscues that dogged him the year before when he was at times jumpy in the pocket and threw into traffic too much. He is more composed now in his progressions, and grooming to be the top dog in 2015.

After that, sophomore Perry Hills (6-2, 215) is returning from a knee injury that shelved him last season, and he still appeared rusty in spring camp. After stepping in for the injured Brown two years ago and starting as a true freshman, and winning some games, the gutsy Hills has since fallen behind the others as both a passer and a runner.

Behind him, redshirt freshman Shane Cockerille (6-2, 215) is a pass-run threat as well, with all the physical tools. But he is still trying to master the offense and become a better thrower. His footwork and throwing mechanics have come a long way in the last year, but he's not fully there yet. Like Hills, Cockerille is a "warrior" type you like leading your huddle, but the technical game is still being pointed up for the former Gilman star.

The Terps signed St. John's (Washington, D.C.) standout athlete/quarterback Will Ulmer (6-0, 190), a quicksilver athlete, but we don't see his long-range home at quarterback, barring a spate of injuries and the like.

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