Maryland's Impact Freshmen?

For those who follow recruiting closely, it's among the first questions each year at the start of camp: Which of the true freshmen seem poised to make an impact instantly? Monday brought some answers to that question.

It seems inevitable that tight end Drew Gloster and inside linebacker Chris Clinton will be on the field.  Gloster, a potential playmaker in the passing game who appears to have added a significant amount of muscle since last season and drew praise from head coach Ralph Friedgen.

“From what they’re telling me, he picks up things real fast,” Friedgen said. “He’s definitely going to get an up-close look.”

Clinton, meanwhile, has the frame of an upperclassman at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, and was the recipient of compliments from a handful of veteran teammates.

“I love watching him play. In the spring game, he was just everywhere, man, running around making a lot of different plays … I think he has a lot of talent, a lot of potential if he can just make sure he channels it all into the right area,” said sophomore starting ‘Will’ linebacker Erin Henderson.

Henderson has has taken it upon himself to mentor the gifted Florida native, who enrolled in the spring in order to get an early start.

“I almost felt like it was something that I had to do, because I could see this spring, he had some different things going on. It can be tough, coming in as a freshman. When I was a freshman and I was going through different things, D’Qwell [Jackson] was always there for me. So I almost felt like I had to step up and help him out and try to look out for him to the best of my abilities,” Henderson said.

“Erin’s been like a mentor to me and helped me through the spring, and taught me a lot of techniques and took the time out,” said Clinton, who could be used sometimes as a pass-rushing end. “Being an older guy and being in the system, and plus his brother E.J. is a Butkus Award winner, so of course I’m gonna take any advice he can give me so maybe one day I can reach those types of achievements.

“I think I could really contribute a lot, maybe on special teams and at some other positions,” Clinton said.

Another freshman, speedster Da’Rel Scott, appears to have a good chance of playing as well – at least on special teams, and perhaps even returning kickoffs or punts.

“Da’Rel Scott, he looks to be in great shape,” Friedgen said. “He was the sprint champ in [Pennsylvania]. I’m looking at him for a home run threat.”

Scott, ambitious and confident, is looking for more than just some token special teams play.

“It would be good to get in the mix for special teams, but it would be good to get in the mix for running back, too, but I’ve just got to work hard in camp,” Scott said. “I’ve got a real good feeling about it, because of my speed.”

With camp underway, we’ll continue to monitor the touted freshman class and see which players are making sharp ascents up the depth chart…

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