Maryland football: Justin Anderson leaving program, new depth chart released

Meet one head of the three-headed running back monster-in-the-making. - Justin K. Aller

Two semi-big football notes on the day, sure-to-be overshadowed by the reveal of Maryland's relatively-underwhelming final ACC basketball schedule.

The first: Justin Anderson, who was competing to replace A.J. Francis as the strongside defensive end in Brian Stewart's 3-4 scheme, is leaving the program at the end of the semester. He seemed unlikely to beat out Keith Bowers or Quinton Jefferson at either end, especially with Andre Monroe coming up on him from behind, so in that sense this isn't a huge blow; in all likelihood, he'd have been a rotation player. There are three ends that were ahead of him in the pecking order, so while Maryland now might need to blood in Roman Braglio a bit in Anderson's place, he had little chance of seeing significant snaps unless there was an injury.

The second: the team has released it's post-spring depth chart, with some position battles resolved and others cropping up. Take a gander at it here, but first a few interesting notes:

Maryland's receivers: Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, and Nigel King, with Marcus Leak at the bottom. Leak was suspended for the spring, and so, as he does with most suspended players, Randy Edsall started him off at the bottom of the depth chart. That's not particularly worrisome; as long as he's eligible come fall, you imagine Leak will rocket up the ladder and challenge Long and King for one of the premier sub-Diggs spots. There's enough room in Maryland's spread offense to accomodate all four of them, plus the likes of Levern Jacobs and Amba Etta to really stretch into the depth.

Ricardo Young's battling for second place. C.J. Brown's your starter coming out of spring ball, as already announced, but the hope for some that Young would get out of spring challenging him has proven ill-placed. Instead, Young's in a three-way tie with Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills for the second spot behind Brown, which is something of a disappointment (presuming it's not just coach-speak designed to spur him on even more). Edsall doesn't like to drop players based on injury, so that likely factors into things to some degree, but if Young was going to put up a real fight come fall, you'd think he'd had to have won the second-string spot outright. (Which, in all honesty, he may actually have done privately.)

Three-headed monster at running back. Here's a case of a position battle not being resolved in spring practice but instead created: Albert Reid's hugely successful spring campaign has pushed him into a three-way tie with Wes Brown and Brandon Ross to be the starting running back. Assuming that Mike Locksley is going to make heavy use of the zone-read option with C.J. Brown, the backfield designations are more ceremonial than anything else; each of the three will play quite a lot and receive heavy carries. But the fact that they're all so close is oddly encouraging: there are going to be a lot of options next season.

Maryland's line: Madaras, Arnett, Conaboy, Zeller, Klemm. That five made the most sense from the outside before spring, and they seem to have settled in as the five on the line. I wouldn't expect much movement.

Keith Bowers, Quinton Jefferson start at defensive end. That's a lot of unproven talent and inexperience, compared to Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, but we always knew that would be the case. Still, expect Andre Monroe to make a case for himself once he's healthy in the fall.

Matt Robinson officially starting at SAM, Marcus Whitfield across him at WILL. Robinson, a coach's favorite, was always going to be tough to move from that spot, but the fact that he's already ahead of Twine officially makes it even more unlikely. Whitfield will be less comfortable; Yannick Ngakoue will be breathing down his neck come August.

Will Likely at the bottom of the depth chart at corner. He's going to receive playing time as a returner almost certainly, but he wasn't able to make too big of an impression, it appears, as a cornerback, at least not yet. That's to be expected to some degree as a freshman in spring practice, and he has plenty more time to make a move, but at least for now Edsall's opting for experience.

And, of course, Brad Craddock still starting at kicker. Hoping for more Aussie, Aussie, Aussie this year, less Oy, Oy, Oy.

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