Maryland continues its progression under head coach D.J. Durkin. Along with their annual matchups against Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State, the Terps will have to face Texas in Austin and Northwestern, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The D.J. Durkin era enters its second season at Maryland (with both former Wisconsin assistants Andy Buh and Chris Beatty). What’s the general feeling heading into the 2017 season, and what major changes could help the Terps this upcoming season?
The general feeling heading into 2017 is definitely a positive one, though the team won’t have such an easy schedule in Durkin’s second season. Durkin just brought in the team’s best recruiting class ever, and that’s got people pretty optimistic about the the Terps’ future. Maryland brought on Jimmy Brumbaugh as a co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, then moved offensive line coach Dave Borbely to an administrative role to bring in Tyler Bowen as its new offensive line coach. Those should help a team that struggled at the line of scrimmage (except when run blocking) in 2016.
Who are the key contributors coming back for the Terps?
Running backs Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison and wide receiver D.J. Moore are the biggest names coming back on offense. On defense, linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., safeties Denzel Conyers and Darnell Savage and cornerback J.C. Jackson will all be back.
Who will they have to replace from last year’s team?
Will Likely is gone at cornerback, though he didn't play the second half of the season after tearing his ACL. Maryland also graduated three senior wide receivers who played at least semi-significant snaps in 2016. Mike Minter and Michael Dunn, the team’s left guard and tackle, are also gone.
Which players could be breakout candidates?
J.C. Jackson, who started at corner much of last season. The former Florida corner had a bit of a rough introduction in his first season of Division I football after spending a year at junior college, and has the athleticism to be an extremely talented player. Other than him, Maryland will be looking for big springs from right tackle Damian Prince, senior defensive end Jesse Aniebonam and quarterback Caleb Henderson.
Which position battles are worth watching this spring?
Wide receiver will be an interesting spot, as Jacquille Veii and Taivon Jacobs have been oft-injured in their Maryland careers but have a ton of potential. Quarterback will be a spot to keep an eye on as well, as Henderson will compete with rising sophomores Tyrrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager.