Intimidating or no, it looks like Dion Armstrong couldn't make the grades.. Image via Daylife
I feel a little bad, because I completely stole the entire story with just that headline. From @insidemdsports on Twitter:
Ralph says Dion Armstrong has left the team and will transfer.
That's a big, big problem. Armstrong was looked at as one of the key fulcrums for the defensive line, a unit where there's no sure things right now outside of Travis Ivey. People raved about his potential, his size and surprisingly athleticism. If he could've come through, the middle of the line would've been extremely strong, which is almost a necessity with the ends as average as they are.
Instead, it looks like he's gone. Armstrong had been having academic issues and sat out spring practice for that very reason. His status was in limbo as practice started, and the problem was compounded by fitness issues. Whether it's grades, attitude, or fitness that did him in I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow.
Like I said earlier, this is a big loss for the team as a whole, and the defense especially. Sliding in his spot will probably be A.J. Francis, who thought highly of Armstrong and seems to be a quote machine in the making. Francis was redshirted last year, but did well in practice and came this close to seeing the field. He sounds like a vocal guy who could be a team leader early on, but his talent level - or at least his potential - doesn't seem to be what Armstrong's is.
If there was one thing Maryland didn't need, this would be it. A new defense while one of the biggest cogs is missing? That's bad news. Hopefully Francis can step up and fill what is now a very large hole in the line.