A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile a player one of only two true freshman to start a game at safety for Maryland in the past 20 years.
A.J. Hendy, Sophomore, Cornerback, #19
Collegiate Stats: 30 tackles (10 assisted), one for a loss, one fumble recovery, one pass break up, one interception, one touchdown
High School Stats (Senior Year): 30 tackles, five interceptions (three for touchdowns), 33 receptions for 592 yards and seven touchdowns, three punt returns for touchdowns
Recruiting Ratings: Four stars by 24/7 (#195 nationally, #5 in Maryland, #16 Athlete), three stars by Rivals (#8 in Maryland, #32 CB), Scout (#61 WR), ESPN (#18 in Maryland, #87 Athlete)
High School: Bowie
Hometown: Bowie, Md.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Hendy was one of the top recruits in the state in 2011, and was a star at Bowie on offense, defense and special teams. He first committed to Maryland in April of 2010, but after Ralph Friedgen was fired he re-opened his commitment. Hendy had offers from Iowa, New Mexico, NC State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia, but really only considered the Hawkeyes and the Terps, calling them 1A and 1B at one point. He was also a track athlete in high school, and was two-time state high jump champion.
Hendy came to Maryland as a cornerback/wide receiver prospect, but the Terps quickly put him at safety, where he had a very good true freshman season. He played in nine games, starting the last three (where he averaged over eight tackles per game), and really broke out during the Notre Dame game. At FedEx Field, Hendy recorded a game-high 13 tackles with nine of them unassisted. Later in the season, he put on another good performance against NC State, with six tackles and an interception returned 32 yards for a touchdown.
This spring, Randy Edsall announced Hendy would be moving back to cornerback.
His real name is Jeremiah, so he's already got one in A.J.
The interception returned for a touchdown against Notre Dame.
Getting beat on a few deep balls last season.
Hendy plays very well in a reserve secondary role, locking up a starting spot for next season.
Sophomore slump, and Maryland looks to other secondary options.
Right now, A.J. Hendy is Matt Robinson's backup at strong safety on the depth chart, in front of walk-on Clarence Claiborne. Safety is where Hendy spent most of his time last season, but he'll be spending most of his time at corner this year, as Randy Edsall announced this spring he'll be moving there. He's the most likely choice for the nickelback spot, and gives the Terps some needed depth at the position.
Could he still play safety? Sure. I doubt Maryland is going to have any three safety formations, but if Matt Robinson or Eric Franklin need a rest and they're only playing two corners, I imagine Edsall might bring in Hendy before Undray Clark.
Another option for Hendy, as it is with seemingly all of Maryland's defensive backs, is in the return game. Like most high school skill position stars, he was a top-class returner, and he should be one of a bevy of talented but inexperienced options Maryland has to run back kicks and punts.
Our next player shares his name with a Broncos running back and a Robert Redford movie.