COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Quarterback Danny O'Brien #5 of the Maryland Terrapins hands the ball off to running back Justus Pickett #44 during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium on September 5, 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.
We took a day off to mourn C.J. Brown's ACL, but it's time to continue with another running back option.
Justus Pickett, Sophomore, Tailback, #44
Major: Letters and Sciences
Collegiate Stats: 74 rushes for 274 yards and one touchdown, ten catches for 49 yards and one touchdown, 30 kickoff returns for 568 yards
High School Stats (Senior Year): 2,429 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals (#19 in NC, #10 All-purpose back), Scout (#70 RB), 24/7, ESPN (#26 RB)
High School: Ardrey Kell
Hometown: Charlotte, Nc.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Justus Pickett was a late gift to Maryland’s 2010 recruiting class, signing with the Terps after signing day. One of the top running backs in the state of North Carolina, he was one of the most productive players in the history of Mecklenburg County. During his senior year, he posted the third-most yards ever by a player in the county and ninth-most touchdowns.
Pickett was named conference offensive player of the year following his senior campaign and was named to multiple all-state teams. He was recruited to the Terps by Lee Hull, choosing them over offers from Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Stanford, and West Virginia among others.
Last season, Pickett played a big role as the primary backup to Davin Meggett, averaging nearly four yards per carry but never really showing the explosiveness that was expected when he came into the program (he never broke a 20 yard run on the year). He also saw time as a kick returner, and thanks to the Terps' at-time porous defense already ranks 17th on the career list at the school in returns and 21st in return yards.
Justus "Served" Pickett
Being the back-up to Meggett last year.
Brandon Ross appears to be on the fast track to starting.
Pickett holds off Ross and the freshmen, starting and recording over 2,000 yards thanks to Maryland's revolutionary "no quarterback" offense.
None of that happens.
Justus Pickett seemed the clear favorite to start against William & Mary just a week ago - Wes Brown and Albert Reid probably need time before true starter status and Brandon Ross is a thing too - but it appears Brandon Ross is more than just another running back on the roster! He's currently the best running back in camp, and Edsall has said that if the season started today it would be Ross starting against William & Mary.
This could be a motivation tool aimed at Pickett. It could be the truth. It could also be both. Either way, the takeaway is that the running back position is not simple this year for Maryland. They've got four talented guys and one ball. The good news for them is without a quarterback, they should all expect to run the ball a whole lot this season.
Pickett is a very good back, and one who should still be considered the favorite to start this year. He'll have to work for it, but he has the experience and the skill to be a big contributor this season. There was a definite learning curve last year, but with a little help from Ross and at least one of the two freshmen, hopefully he can put together a solid year and help ease the pain of Maryland's offense.
The subject of our next profile's hometown is too small to have its own high school.
Terpsonfire retakes the lead.