Examining Maryland's Burnt Redshirts

With just one game left, I think it's safe to say Maryland has burnt all the redshirts they will. If Ralph Friedgen burns another in what is likely his last game as head coach, I'll probably lead a small militia armed with pitchforks to his house. It hopefully won't happen, and though you can't be sure, it would be pretty shocking if it did. Similarly, we know just about all we're going to know about them; a lot of plays in the final game with neither make a redshirt justified, nor will a lack of plays make it wasteful.

With that being the case, I think it's pretty fair to start handing down some verdicts on the redshirts. While a redshirt being burnt is generally a pretty subjective thing, there are some general guidelines - the player was needed in some sense (not enough players, injuries, etc.), the player got adequate playing time (enough to give him experience he wouldn't have had otherwise), or the player made a positive impact (big plays, etc.; usually comes with playing time). It can vary, but these are some good qualities.

That said, here's an overview of the redshirts Maryland have burnt this year, and my personal opinion on whether or not they've been wasted. That's ultimately a subjective decision, so come to it of your own accord.

Justin Anderson, DT
Shirt Burnt: @ UVA, 10/17
Stats: 0 tackles, not many more plays; saw action in 4 games so far, skipped N.C. St.
Summary: Anderson came back the same week Maryland got another DT back from injury (Joe Vellano). Unsurprisingly, Vellano promptly leapfrogged him on the depth chart, and Anderson rarely saw any playing time. He gets on the field about twice a game, sometimes on special teams.
Verdict: Wasted. That it happened so late in the year and that he got next to no playing time is one thing, but I can't get over just how weird (read: dumb) it is he came the same exact week Maryland got another DT back. Maryland got through the previous 6 games with 5 DTs; at this game, we decided we needed 7? Unbelievable to me.

Ryan Donohue, LB
Shirt Burnt: vs. Clemson, 10/3
Stats: 3 tackles, has played in 6 games
Summary: Donohue doesn't get on the field much on defense - I legitimately can't remember him being on the field on a "regular" circumstance. He does, however, get a lot of burn on special teams. Shortly after burning his redshirt, he was described as a "star" after his performance in the JV game against Fork Union.
Verdict: Wasted. Donohue looked really good according to all the reports from the Fork Union game; good enough to potentially be a very good player down the line. Good thing he (and Drakeford and Murray; we'll get to them later) burnt his shirt to play on special teams. I could understand if it was one of the LBs, but three of the best?

Darin Drakeford, LB
Shirt Burnt: @ Cal, 9/5
Stats: 17 tackles, 1 TFL; played in 10 games, missed Middle Tennessee State
Summary: Drakeford was lauded as a future star when he entered the program, and many thought that his redshirt would (unfortunately) have to be burned for depth purposes. Early in the year, he did get a decent amount of playing time, but not enough to make you really notice. Once Ben Pooler got back in the lineup, Drakeford rarely saw the field except for ST. His hit against FSU's RB on Saturday has me believing he should've been on the field a bit more.
Verdict: Wasted. He's too good to waste a year on three plays a game plus kickoff duties.

Nick Ferrara, K
Shirt Burnt: @ Cal, 9/5
Stats: 17-24 on FGs, long of 50; 29 punts, 40.9 avg
Summary: MVP KICKER. The fact that we're willing to name a freshman kicker our MVP - I am, at least, thanks to Torrey Smith's decline in use - it telling, both of Ferrara's surprising rookie year and of this terrible team. Nick the Kick will be a stud his junior and senior years.
Verdict: Good Non-Redshirt. Fits all 3 criteria, and more.

Eric Franklin, S
Shirt Burnt: @ Duke, 10/24
Stats: 3 tackles, 1 sack
Summary: Franklin was picked to be a backup in the top-heavy safety position after Antwine Perez left the Duke game with what appeared to be a major injury (Perez was back next week). When Perez returned, Franklin was relegate once again to 5th safety, and saw a few plays a game; sometimes, he's had a positive impact, like his 8 yard sack. Others, not so positive, like when he was caught out of position and with a bad angle on Lonnie Pryor's TD run on Saturday.
Verdict: Wasted. Let's see...Maryland played the first three games with three safeties, but they couldn't last a half with 3 a few games later? Not to mention guys like Austin Walker and Michael Carter - both servicable, if not great, options - sat on the bench while Franklin got his first PT.

Bennett Fulper, OL
Shirt Burnt: @ Cal, 9/5
Stats: He's an offensive lineman, what do want?; played in 7 games, started three
Summary: Fulper got on the field early and often, and was used a lot late in the game against Cal. That seemed to impress the coaches, who quickly granted him a starting spot at guard. No one's spot on the line was consistent, though, and Fulper was no different; it wasn't long before he was rotating in and out. He did get major playing time in all games before a season-ending injury, though.
Verdict: Good Non-Redshirt. It's not the coaches' fault he got hurt, and he got plenty enough playing time to warrant being out there.

Zachariah Kerr, DT
Shirt Burnt: @ Cal, 9/5
Stats: 2 tackles, played in all 11 games
Summary: Maryland really had no choice on playing Kerr. The massive DT had prepped last year, so he was really a sophomore/redshirt freshman in age and ahead of most other true freshmen in preparedness. Desperate for bodies, Maryland didn't have much of a choice but to throw him on the DL - it would've happened eventually.
Verdict: Okay Non-Redshirt. I rather him would've gotten more time and had a bigger impact (he was in for around 6 to 10 plays a game, it seemed), but there was really no other choice.

Avery Murray, LB
Shirt Burnt: @ Cal, 9/5
Stats: 7 tackles; played in 10 games (skipped JMU)
Summary: Murray was very similar to Drakeford; someone who was touted as a future starter and an early enrollee. Like Drakeford, he would probably have to burn his shirt for depth and ST. He's seen almost no playing time outside of special teams, and I refuse to believe Haroon Brown or Hakeem Sule couldn't have done his job on ST. It just seems like such a big waste - Drakeford was hardly used, why would you need two of him?
Verdict: Wasted, but I can kind of understand it. He wasn't quite as highly regarded as Drakeford, so if Maryland had to burn one, it should've been his. Unfortunately, they burned Drakeford's unnecessarily, and thus made Murray's a waste.

Caleb Porzel, RB
Shirt Burnt: @ WF, 10/10
Stats: 75 yards on 30 carries; 2.5 ypc
Summary: Ah, the Porzel redshirt. Porzel came into the picture after Da'Rel Scott injured his wrist, and at the time, I said I kind of understood the decision. After all, Maryland no longer had their explosive back, and Porzel would fit that nicely. He could also provide a dimension that Maryland was lacking. He was brought in, given a few plays a game (about 5 carries a game), and never really made a huge impact.
Verdict: Wasted. At the time, I didn't mind it, provided Porzel gets a lot of PT. In retrospect, Maryland wasted a redshirt on about 5 carries a game, while Morgan Green - an established, experienced back - got 5 carries on the entire year.

Isaiah Ross, LB/DT
Shirt Burnt: vs. JMU, 9/12
Stats: 6 tackles, .5 TFL; played in 7 games
Summary: To be fair, Maryland's defense was absolutely starved for a halfway decent lineup by the second game of the season, and I would rather take a flier on Isaiah Ross than DeOnte Arnett. Regardless, Ross' playing time has been scattered, if more plentiful than most. Not sure Masengo Kabongo, Derek Drummond, Jared Harrell, Deege Galt, and Carl Russell couldn't have handled the duties, though.
Verdict: Okay Non-Redshirt. I can understand why they would burn the redshirt in the first place, especially if Ross was doing well in practice. They definitely should've had him on the field more toward the end of the year, but at the beginning he was playing quite a lot.
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