Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, January 11, 2016
The Maryland program is in transition after Randy Edsall was fired during the season. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over for the last six games but couldn?t right the ship, as the Terrapins lost eight in a row at one point en route to finishing 3-9 a year after going to a bowl. Hey, at least Maryland ended the season with a stunning comeback win at Rutgers.
[ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart's players to replace posts ]
Maryland hired Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to take over. And, he has work to do, especially on defense. Maryland ranked 11th in scoring defense (34.4 ppg) and 11th in total defense (421.2 ypg). The offense also has problems. No school in the nation turned the ball over more than Maryland?s 36. And the quarterback play was abysmal, as the Terps tossed a national-high 29 interceptions for a program that had a minus-18 turnover margin.
Maryland received a big boost when CB William Likely announced he would return for his senior season. The diminutive speedster was named the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year in 2015. The Terps also welcome back players like LB Jermaine Carter, RB Wes Brown, WRs D.J. Moore, Levern Jacobs and Taivon Jacobs, OT Derwin Gray and LB Jalen Brooks, among others.
Here is a look at the top five players that Maryland must replace from its 2015 squad.
K Brad Craddock. The Aussie struggled with injury in 2015 a year after winning the Groza Award. Craddock hit 8-of-10 field-goal attempts before suffering a season-ending injury after nine games. He leaves College Park as an all-time great.
OT Ryan Doyle. The powerful Doyle was an anchor up from for a rushing attack that ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten (200.7 ypg). He helped pave the way for RB Brandon Ross rushing for 958 yards. Doyle showed his versatility, making six starts at tackle and five at guard.
DE Quinton Jefferson. He has 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the coaches. Jefferson paced all Maryland defensive linemen with 39 tackles.
DE Yannick Ngakoue. A lightning-quick pass rusher off the edge, Ngakoue ranked second in the Big Ten in sacks with 13.5, which set a school single-season standard. He also had 15 tackles for loss and earned consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors. Ngakoue opted to turn pro early.
RB Brandon Ross. He was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick by the media after rushing 150 times for 958 yards with 10 TDs, ranking fifth in the Big Ten in rushing (79.8 ypg). That was the most yards rushing in a season by a Maryland player since 2008. His 6.4 yards per carry led Big Ten backs, leaving campus with over 2,000 career rushing yards.
Email Tom Dienhart using the form below.
And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.