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 who moved to defensive end this spring.
Joe Vellano, Senior (RS), Defensive End, #72
Major: Family Science
Collegiate Stats: 158 tackles (80 assisted), 18 for a loss, 7.5 sacks, three fumbles forced, two fumbles recovered, one Fat Guy Touchdown, six passes broken up
High School Stats (Senior Year): 68 tackles
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals (#7 in New York, #62 SDE), two stars by Scout, two stars by ESPN (#111 DT)
High School: Christian Brothers Academy
Hometown: Rexford, N.Y.
High School Highlights:
In lieu of high school highlights, we instead present Fat Guy Touchdown!
How'd He Get to College Park?
Joe Vellano is yet another example of a player who wasn’t considered a prized prospect by recruiting agencies coming out of high school but exploded on the college scene at his first opportunity. Maryland seems to be the only major school that offered him coming out of high school, but he was also recruited by UConn (with Randy Edsall), Penn State, and Georgia Tech, among others. He was still one of the top prospects in the admittedly weak football state of New York, and ended up at Maryland as a defensive end recruit.
The Terps immediately moved Vellano to defensive tackle, where he excelled. He played well on the scout team and during spring practice during his first two years, but injuries slowed his progress and limited his playing time.
The aforementioned injury was a broken right foot, and Vellano was able to finally fully recover in time for the 2010 campaign. He was by far the most impressive player during spring practice, and carried that forward to the regular season, recording 63 tackles (most on the defensive line) with 10.5 for a loss and five sacks (both tops on the team). He was named second team All-ACC for his efforts.
Last year, Vellano built on his sophomore season to put together one of the best years for a Maryland lineman in recent memory. He had 94 tackles (the top rate in the country for a lineman) with seven and a half for a loss, including a Herculean 20-tackle effort against Georgia Tech. For his efforts, he was named a second team All-American and a consensus first team All-ACC choice.
A note – Vellano’s dad, Paul, was an All-American and a two-time all-conference selection during his time at Maryland.
Joe "Joey V" Vellano
Everything that was last year.
The injuries at the beginning of his career.
Vellano transitions to defensive end seamlessly, making his old connection with A.J. Francis work again and leading the Terps' defensive line to a successful season.
Vellano is too slow for the position, and gets manhandled by the left tackles of the league.
There are only a few people on Maryland's defense that have essentially a guaranteed starting spot - Matt Robinson, Demetrius Hartsfield, A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano. What separates Vellano from the rest of the group is he's playing a new position.
The 3-4 should go a long way towards Vellano's success at the new position (and that's relative, since he has experience at defensive end, just not at Maryland), because the new set-up of the defensive line puts most of the pressure on the nose tackle. Vellano's strength has always been his speed, and he played off the simple power of A.J. Francis next to him to get through the line and to the quarterback, and that's hopefully what we'll see again this year.
Don't be alarmed, this isn't a Tate-to-linebacker situation. Yes, Maryland is again tinkering with a very successful defensive player. But this time, he has the tools and the system to succeed.
The subject of our next profile shares his last name with an Italian soccer player known for his temper and harsh tackling.
Clevesanterp is the only one who actually guessed both answers yesterday (Vellano and Shawne Merriman), putting a new player on the board.
Maryland1206 - 5
kbuts151 - 5
Terpsfinish - 1
ClickClack62 - 1
Mdak06 - 1
bubbasparks - 1
clevesanterp - 1
Everybody else - 0