We've been waiting on this news for what seems like forever now, and now it's official. Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien will transfer from the program, along with starting left tackle Max Garcia and reserve linebacker/defensive back Mario Rowson.
O'Brien was rumored to be out last week, but delayed his decision by a week. That led to Maryland fans hoping that the signing of Stefon Diggs might change DOB's mind, but that was clearly not the case.
The departure of DOB is going to get the most media coverage of the three, and understandably so - the former ACC Rookie of the Year was the face of the program, and even after a tumultuous sophomore campaign there were still memories left of his 22 touchdown freshman year.
However, the biggest loss of the three is pretty clearly Garcia. While DOB has a battle-tested backup behind him in CJ Brown (who some were hoping would start anyway), Maryland has now lost both of its starting tackles (R.J. Dill transferred to Rutgers) and are now looking at a potential starting duo of injury-riddled Justin Gilbert and true freshman Mike Madaras. Maryland will likely have three Good Counsel true freshmen starting from day one, but that's an issue for another post.
Update 3:35, Ben B.: And Edsall has officially blocked O'Brien from transferring to Vanderbilt. No word on who else is blocked but I'd assume that's the only one. This will rub some the wrong way but I can't get myself worked up about it: there's obviously bad blood between Frank and Edsall, whether from negative recruiting or perceived efforts to poach DOB, and 99% of other coaches would do the same thing.
Garcia started all 12 games in his sophomore season - he and Dill were the only offensive linemen to do so. That line came a long way over the past two years, but with Andrew Gonnella graduating and those two leaving the program, there's going to be slim pickings protecting Brown at some points. He was reportedly homesick, and wanted to return closer to Georgia.
Rowson played in eleven games last year as a freshman, starting in four. He had 27 tackles, including three for a loss, with one sack and one pass breakup. Recruited as a cornerback, he was put in the STAR slot last year and was arguably the player best suited for it. Trouble is, he wants to play defensive back, while the Terps see him as a linebacker.
But let's get back to Danny for a second, because that's who people are going to be talking back. Here was Edsall's official comment on his departure:
"Danny told me that he’s not committed to our program, that he’s not ‘all in.’ I want what’s best for all of our players."
Read into that what you will, but it appears Edsall's not exactly broken up about it (at least publicly). It looks like he's comfortable with C.J. Brown running the program, and with Locksley's pro-style spread hybrid, that might not be a bad thing.
Locksley had a similar group of personnel at Illinois, and he was pretty effective with a run-first quarterback (Juice Williams/C.J. Brown), power running back (Rashard Mendenhall/Wes Brown) and stud D.C. area wideout (Arrelious Benn/Stefon Diggs). Now, I'm not saying any of those guys are as good as their Illini counterparts, but it's a good place to start.
In terms of likely landing spots, Vanderbilt and Stanford are two names I've heard bandied about quite a bit. [EDIT: Apparently no Vandy]. O'Brien won't have to sit out a year thanks to the NCAA's rule on graduate students, unless he transfers to an ACC school (which you've got to imagine Maryland wouldn't allow anyway). Garcia will almost certainly end up in Georgia, while Rowson is a wild card, although both will have to sit out a year if they transfer to another FBS school.
Ben will come in later with the official transfer count, but I believe we're at 12? You know it's bad when you lose track.