Hey, that flag thing on the helmet is pretty cool. Can we bring that back?
This is the fourth in a series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 11.
Throughout the years, Maryland has been home to a variety of great, likable players, in both football and basketball. Sure, part of the reason they're so beloved by the fanbase is because they play for Maryland or win for Maryland, but plenty of Terrapins have been extraordinarily likable for a variety of reasons, be it their personality or the way they play.
For a basketball example, take Boom Osby. When he was at Maryland, the Terps were nowhere near where they were earlier in the decade or later in Greivis Vasquez's senior year. But Osby was extraordinarily likable: his 'fro, his gigantic smile, his playing style, his old car collection. It was impossible to not like Boom Osby.
The same can be said for Juan Dixon, though for some different reasons. Juan's story is well-known by now, and we recently saw that the type of childhood Juan endured can easily take a life of even the best basketball players. Juan ended up at Maryland, though, and the skinny kid from Baltimore that was never considered a phenom won a national championship through gritty hard work.
But I'm stealing all of my favorite Terrapins. A quick list of my favorite Terps of all time - not best, favorite - including the two above, in both sports:
- Greivis Vasquez: For Vaz's four years in College Park, there wasn't a player with more fire, more emotion, and more panache than Greivis Vasquez. He would taunt other players, other fans, or his own fans. His shimmies and dances were controversial until his junior year, when it was clear that he was one of the best players in the country. Since then, no player was more fun to watch, more heroic, or more lovable than The General himself.
- Scott McBrien: I can't rationalize why I love McBrien so much. Maybe it's because he was the perfect QB to run Maryland's offense. Maybe it's because he wasn't physically imposing. Maybe it's because he transferred from West Virginia and destroyed the 'Eers three times. Maybe its because Maryland had two of their best seasons since the 70s when he was QB. Maybe a combination of everything makes him one of my most beloved Terps.
- D'Qwell Jackson: I love E.J. Henderson for how good he was; watching him play was a treat. And I love Erin Henderson because he was arguably as good as D'Qwell and E.J. but didn't get the credit he deserved. But D'Qwell was my favorite of the trio. The first play I actively remember D'Qwell Jackson taking part in was the very first snap against Florida State in his second game as a starter his sophomore year. He intercepted a Chris Rix pass, saw that Rix and Greg Jones were next to him, lowered his shoulders and rocked both of them, and returned it for a touchdown to give Maryland a 7-0 lead. The Terps would lose, 35-10, but that play has become legend in my mind.
- Byron Mouton: Steve Blake also deserves this spot; I flipped a coin and Mouton (tails) won. Byron was a premier scorer at Tulane, but gave that up to become a glue guy at Maryland. And as important as Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake and the rest were to that championship team, it doesn't get won without Mouton. He was everything a Gary Williams player was supposed to be.
- Steve Suter: Suter was undersized and not exactly imposing. You wouldn't think he was one of the most successful punt returners in the NCAA just by looking at him. But he wasn't just one of the best in the country; he was one of the best ever. He set a variety of records for the school and nearly the nation, and watching him play was a treat: he was one of the most elusive returners I can remember. My love of the underdog and my love of successful punt returners (will Maryland ever have one again? please?) combines to make Steve one of my favorite Terps.
- Len Bias: I never saw Len play, but that doesn't change the fact that he's one of my favorite Terps. His highlights are utterly amazing, and his story doesn't need to be told. Really not a lot of explaining to do here. One of the best basketball players ever.
- Bruce Perry: Would be higher on the list if he played more than one full year. Great player had his career cut short to injuries.
- Torrey Smith: Needs to finish his career, but the fellow Fredericksburgian (Fredericksburger?) is probably my favorite player on this year's team.
- Steve Blake: See the Mouton bullet.
- John Lucas: He was way before my time, but I've been told stories. Really wish I could've seen him play.
- Vernon Davis: Was basically a cyborg, but Maryland was too bad during his time here, honestly.
- Erin and EJ Henderson: I love that brothers came to Maryland. I love that they were both top 5 linebackers when they were here, even though only one got properly recognized for it.
- DJ Strawberry: Great defender who willingly played the point, even though it wasn't his position. Didn't have the greatest four years in terms of team accomplishment, but I really liked DJ.
- Mike Jones: Just kidding. (I blame the rankings before MJ came in, not MJ. Still, what a disappointing tenure).
- Randy White: Never saw him play, but the stories I hear are amazing. Has to be one of the top 3 best football Terps ever.
- Lamont Jordan: He still gives back a lot of money IIRC, and loves the women's basketball team. Probably their biggest supporter.
- Joe Smith: I only have vague memories of Joe Smith playing, but like some of the guys I mentioned above, the stories and highlights are some of the best out of any Terp. Amazing player, and very likable.