Funnily enough, safety was an area of concern not too long ago. Now, there’s a plethora of talent there - if you could have too much talent at a position, this would probably be that amount of talent. All four of the players vying for the two jobs are great safeties, making this one of the tougher decisions the coaching staff will have to make. Two positions are actually being fought over - FS and SS - but they're so similar I decided to combine it into one post.
The Contenders: Terrell Skinner and Antwine Perez (FS), Jamari McCullough and Kenny Tate (SS)
Terrell Skinner: Skinner was one of the best Terps on defense last year, so I doubt he’ll lose his job this year. He was hurt for awhile, but even through that he was consistently solid, putting up 63 tackles on the year. I even picked him as the defensive MVP last year. It wasn’t a spectacular year, but he performed exactly the way the Terps needed him to.
Antwine Perez: Perez was a five star safety coming out of high school, headed to USC. After he was recruited over, he transferred over to Maryland. As his high school ranking indicates, he’s extremely talented. He doesn’t have the game experience of Skinner, but Skinner doesn’t have his talent. Skinner played so well last year, though, that Perez will really have to impress the coaches in practice to steal his spot. He'll probably have to function like he did last year - as a backup for both the safety positions.
Jamari McCullough: McCullough, currently the leader at strong safety, had one of – if not the – most memorable plays of the season last year: the game-sealing interception against North Carolina. But outside of that, the guy actually had a pretty good year. He led the team with 4 interceptions and still found time to make 37 tackles. He didn’t even start last year and he put up those numbers. That’s pretty damn good.
Kenny Tate: Everyone’s favorite safety, Tate originally was a highly touted wide receiver who switched to safety to provide depth for last year’s team. He did pretty well, so they decided to keep him there, especially with the wide receiver corps as crowded as it is. Tate is uber-talented (and I hate the prefix "uber"), but also versatile – there’s been talk of him moving to cornerback or even getting some time at linebacker. While I think it’s outlandish for him to go to LB, it’s worth keeping in mind how versatile he is. Now that he has a year under his belt, however, his PT should increase somewhat dramatically at his home position of safety.
Skinner and McCullough will probably be the starters of the group, but they may only be starters in name. The four should cycle through a decent amount until one of them shows they deserve more playing time.