Next up is a former top prospect who is poised for a breakout year.
A.J. Hendy, Junior, Defensive Back, #19
Collegiate Stats: 34 tackles (23 solo), one tackle for a loss, one fumble recovered, one pass break-up, one interception
High School Stats: 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.
Last spring, Randy Edsall moved Hendy back to cornerback, where the sophomore stayed quiet - recording just four tackles in eight games. This year, he's back at safety, but could play at either position.
With a real name of Jeremiah, we're going with "Bulldog."
Returning an interception for a touchdown against Notre Dame as a freshman.
Hendy wins the starting safety job over Sean Davis, cementing his last two years on the playing field.
There are really three possible options for A.J. Hendy this season - starting strong safety, starting nickelback, or reserve defensive back. At strong safety, Hendy is competing with returning starter Sean Davis (of note, they are also the only two players listed at the position). At corner, he is competing with Isaac Goins.
Hendy isn't listed on the depth chart at corner, but that's likely only because he's currently in competition at the safety position (which would call for more playing time). If he loses the starting job to Davis, it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see him at nickel - depending on how the Terrapin coaching staff feels about having Goins in such a prominent role.
Unfortunately for Hendy, cornerback last year did not spell good news - he had much more success (and much more chances at it) while playing safety as a freshman. This year, it seems likely that he'll have the opportunity to succeed at both.
Our next player speaks Chinese and French - thanks to the small-school in DC from which he hails.
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