Incoming Freshmen Rundown: LB

We've finally finished the rundown, and there were just a ton of linebackers. Really, a third of the class consisted of LBs, and that's not counting Lorne Goree or David Mackall (Mackall is a hybrid DE), both of whom had to prep. I don't want to think about doing another two of these. Moving on:

Ryan Donohue, ILB

H/W: 6-2 / 220
HS: St. Joe's (Montvale, NJ)
Vital Info: In a few ways, Donohue reminds me of Alex Wujciak: not cut, not fast, but a strong, hard-nosed Jersey inside linebacker. I have no idea if he's as talented as Wujciak, but it's a favorable comparison. He doesn't have top-line speed or quickness, but he has a prototypical build for an inside linebacker that just needs a bit of toning. If he can prove he can play despite the speed issues, he could become a contributor down the line.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 10%. Both Alex Wujciak and Drew Gloster are cemented in their spots. Unless one of them goes down and he's more impressive than the higher-ranked Isaiah Ross, Avery Murray, and the plethora of OLBs, he won't see the field.

Darin Drakeford, OLB

H/W: 6-0 / 225
HS: Theodore Roosevelt (Washington, D.C.)
Vital Info: Drakeford might've been the definition of a sleeper when he committed. Virtually unknown by all the ranking services, he saw a surprising jump not long after the commit, finding himself ranked 78 on ESPN and three stars on both Rivals and Scout. The reason he flew below the radar: his size. 6-0, 215 (what he was during HS) isn't perfect for a linebacker. His speed and athleticism is his big plus, and has great instincts for the position. ESPN called him "perfect for an attacking 4-3 defense" - which is, of course, what Don Brown has instilled.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 40%. Like DeOnte Arnett, he's a talented early enrollee at a position of need. If he can outplay the other freshmen OLB, the coaching staff probably can't afford to redshirt him.

Bradley Johnson, OLB

H/W: 6-1 / 210
HS: Dinwiddie (Dinwidde, VA)
Vital Info: The biggest surprise about Johnson is his hands: in every video I've seen of the kid (read: two), he makes a bunch of picks. Some of them appear to be the same (for whatever reason one is shown four times), but it's clear he has a bit of a nose for the ball. He's even smaller than Drakeford, though his build has more room for expansion. He's not a great athlete, but a servicable one, and he'll probably be a big help in pass defense. Run support needs some help, both due to his lack of size and plain ability.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 5%. Depth is needed at linebacker, but Johnson's size could be a major detriment. If he can bulk up, he could be a good 'backer in the future, but not this year.

Avery Murray, LB

H/W: 6-0 / 220
HS: West Florence (Florence, SC)
Vital Info: One word is consistently floated around when discussing Murray: explosive. He specializes in disrupting and playmaking, whether it be blitzing, in pass coverage, or against the run. He can get by defenders with speed or surprising strength, and is capable of laying down big hits. He saw time at ILB during the spring, but his build may be better suited for the OLB position. Regardless, the versatility is a plus.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 40%. Same deal as Drakeford. Talented early enrollee, not a lot of depth, and the versatility is a big plus. One of those two are probably going to see the field.

Isaiah Ross, ILB

H/W: 6-2 / 248
HS: Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, MD)
Vital Info: Ross possesses the best size out of all Maryland's incoming freshmen linebackers, but that doesn't mean all that much - in high school, Ross mostly played DE. He's moved back to LB due to his measurables, and will probably need some time to learn his relatively new position. He lacks great speed, but has a great build and is very strong. He knows how to get after the QB, but, with his strength and lack of great speed, will probably be at his best against the run.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 10%. Like Donohue, the guys in front of him are pretty well cemented in. He might have more natural talent than Donohue, but the position is new to him and he wasn't an early enrollee. As such, he may see the field on special teams or in emergency situations, but he needs to show that he can grasp the position well.

Marcus Whitfield, OLB

H/W: 6-2 / 220
HS: Northwest (Germantown, MD)
Vital Info: Like Ross, he originally played DE in high school, and even that was only for a season (before that he was a TE). He's not even as big as Ross, but that should give you a clue as to his disruptiveness and athletic ability. He's one of the most athletic linebackers Maryland's bringing in, and his build will fortunately accommodate some more weight. The biggest issue he has is the same as Ross': learning the new position. His upside is huge, but he needs to get bigger and learn the position, first.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 5%. See above. He's moving back to linebacker, and is yet to master the position, and needs to put a few more pounds on. In three years, he'll be great. But not yet.

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