Next up is another player who played a whole lot more than expected last season.
Anthony Nixon, Sophomore, Safety, #20
Twitter: None we could find
Collegiate Stats: 41 tackles (26 solo), 1 interception, four passes defended, two fumble recoveries
High School Stats: 30 receptions for over 600 yards and 11 touchdowns, 45 tackles (30 solo), three interceptions, seven pass breakups
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals, Scout (#46 S), 24/7 (#38 in PA, #142 WR), two stars by ESPN (#39 in PA, #150 ATH)
High School: Central Catholic
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Nixon played safety and wide receiver at Central Catholic, catching 34 passes for 699 yards and intercepting three passes as a junior. He was named to the Fabulous 22 team that season, and then had the great senior season mentioned above. The following June, Perry Hills, Nixon's quarterback, committed to Maryland. Just a month later, Nixon committed as well. Greg Gattuso brought both of them in, and for Nixon, Maryland beat out Pitt as Nixon's only other offer.
Nixon came to College Park and was thrust into the role of safety from the get-go, playing in all 12 games and starting in five. He led all Terrapin freshmen with 41 tackles, and in his second career start (against Virginia), he had a team-high nine tackles and recorded his first career interception. Other highlights included eight tackles against Georgia Tech and nine tackles with a fumble recovery against Clemson.
His great game against Virginia.
Nixon manages to avoid the freshman blunders he made last season, putting together a solid year with at least three interceptions.
Nixon had a very up-and-down season last year. The true freshman started in five games, and while he had some solid outings (Virginia and Clemson come to mind), seeing him beat on a long ball was not uncommon. For a free safety, that's simply unacceptable, and Randy Edsall and Brian Stewart have assuredly been working on that part of his game.
Nixon essentially has the starting spot locked up - Zach Dancel is listed as his back-up, but unlike the other safety position, it's not listed as an "or" situation. Dancel is certainly a possibility at the position - he actually has more starting experience than Nixon, but last year Nixon proved that he has the ability to play at this level. He's far enough ahead of Dancel at the end of spring practice to have the starting job to himself, and that speaks for itself.
As we mentioned yesterday in our profile of Sean Davis, Nixon and Davis work well off each other - speed and strength, hands and hitting ability. He may have the starting job locked up now - based on his raw ability and his performance last year - but if he slips us, Dancel should be there to take advantage.
Our next player shares his full name with a film directed by a person who appeared as an actor in the last film of one of the greatest American directors ever.
The returning champ is tied in second.
ClickClack62 - 5
curterp - 3
Maryland1206 - 3
Redturtle - 2
802Terp - 2
proudterp - 1
terpsfinish - 1
KHemer - 1
apgibson24 - 1