COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Matt Brown #22 of the Temple Owls is tackled by Demetrius Hartsfield #9 of the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at Byrd Stadium on September 24, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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 one of two defensive captains.
Demetrius Hartsfield, Senior (RS), Linebacker, #9
Major: Criminal Science
Collegiate Stats: 260 tackles (143 assisted), 20 for a loss, five sacks, one fumble forced, three fumbles recovered, four passes broken up, one interception, one touchdown
High School Stats (Senior Year): 132 tackles, 12 for a loss, eight sacks, six fumbles forced, three fumbles recovered
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals (#18 in N.C., #30 ILB), ESPN (#20 ILB), two stars by Scout (#53 WLB)
High School: Southeast Magnet
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
High School Highlights:
None that we could find.
How'd He Get to College Park?
Considering how (relatively) close North Carolina is, it’s surprising Maryland hasn’t made more of a push into that area for football recruiting. Then again, with four ACC schools and a good C-USA program in East Carolina down there already, it’s also easy to understand why they might want to focus on more local pursuits
Hartsfield was recruited by North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Georgia, but in terms of offers Maryland only had Buffalo, Duke, and East Carolina to compete with. He was recruited to Maryland by former special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Ray Rychleski, who left for South Carolina before Hartsfield made it to campus.
He was named to the All-State team after his senior year.
Hartsfield came out of Southeast Raleigh projected by most everyojne to be an inside linebacker at the next level, but when he came in to the Maryland program there was an Alex Wujciak-sized barrier in his way. Instead of using Hartsfield as Wuj’s backup, the coaches realized they couldn’t keep his talent off the field and moved him to weakside linebacker, where he started all of 2010 and most of 2009 after redshirting his first year on campus.
After a freshman campaign that saw him named to the All-ACC Freshman team by Rivals, Hartsfield had an even better sophomore year, recording 88 tackles (third on the team) with six and a half for a loss (third on the team). He returned an interception for a touchdown in the Morgan State game, and recorded 13 tackles twice in the year – against Florida International and in the Military Bowl against East Carolina.
Before last season, Hartsfield was moved back to his natural inside position, and was named an honorable mention All-ACC selection despite playing in only nine games. In those nine games, he managed a tackling rate of 12.0 per game - good for fifth in the nation and second in the conference. He also led the Terps in tackles for a loss (seven) and had a career-high 18 tackles against NC State.
Hartsfield currently ranks first on Maryland's roster in career tackles (260) and defensive starts (29).
Demetrius "Meat" Hartsfield. It's his real nickname.
The 18 tackle game against NC State.
The drop in sack production from his freshman year (3.5 to 1.5 since then).
Hartsfield caps off a fantastic Maryland career, posting his second straight 100 tackle season and earning all-conference honors.
Hartsfield struggles to adapt in the new system playing along side another inside linebacker, and Maryland's defense suffers with him.
Maryland is switching to a 3-4 next season, and there is reason for concern. There's always a period of transition when switching coordinators, but switching entire formations usually results in a down year. Usually, much of the responsibility for maintaining order in the switch would fall on the front seven, but with Maryland secondary depth is really the greatest concern on defense. But, we've already covered the secondary, and we're still talking about linebackers.
While Kenny Tate may have the most pure football talent of any of Maryland's linebackers (or players), the argument can certainly be made that Demetrius Hartsfield is the most important player to the success of Maryland's defense this year. One of two defensive captains, he's been a mainstay in the Terps' linebacking corps for the past three years and continues to move his way up the record books in College Park. He's the picture of consistency, and it's hard to imagine he'll have all that much trouble transitioning to a 3-4.
That said, Hartsfield will likely have an added responsibility this year - helping the development of whichever young inside linebacker is playing along side him. The favorite is Lorne Goree, who at least has some on-field experience under his belt, but Cole Farrand, Abner Logan, and Brock Dean could also find themselves thrust into a starting role. Whoever it is, it will be largely Hartsfield's responsibility to show them the ropes and aid their growth as players.
Demetrius Hartsfield will be a player to watch this year, both for Maryland fans hoping for (rare) success after yet another down year, and for college football fans in general wanting to catch a glimpse of another great Terrapin linebacker, following in the footsteps of players like D'Qwell Jackson and Alex Wujciak. And formation changes and young player developing aside, it's important to remember sometimes to just sit back and watch a great player do what he does best.
The subject of our next profile's first coaching job was at a high school named after a former Connecticut Senator.
Maryland1206 got yesterday's right, so he jumps out to the lead as the first person to understand this is a competition.
Maryland1206 - 1
Everybody else - 0