Staff Roundtable: National Signing Day reactions and Florida State predictions

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Every week we here at Testudo Times get together and discuss the biggest issues surrounding the program.

Q: What grade would you give  Maryland for Signing Day 2014?

FlaTerp: I'd give it a C. Damian Prince was great, but otherwise there were just too many misses among the higher-level  Maryland and DC kids. The Terps should be able to recruit as well as Virginia, but they don't. Also, cornerback was a dire need just in terms of pure numbers on the depth chart, and I don't think we filled the tank enough there.

Andrew: B+. Even with all my optimism, I can't in good conscience give a class ranked in the 30s-40s an A unless we had signed Tabor, but this is about as good a class as we could have expected. Addressing needs, bringing in some blue chippers. Very solid.

Pete: Let's call it a B. It's a good, solid class, that is hampered some by the necessary small size of it. But it addresses many of the issues the Terps had, accomplished bringing in the top two players in the state, and sets up some good momentum for the class of 2015.

Brendan: I'm going C+, I like the depth along the offensive line and I like Ulmer, Aniebonam and Winfree. All positives, and I'm not expecting Maryland to just automatically get Jalen Tabor or Da'Shawn Hand because they are somewhat local, but they only locked up three of the top 30 prospects in the state of Maryland. Now obviously they got the top two, but only three of the top 30? That's not exactly putting a fence around the state and locking it up like Edsall promised.

Lee: B- seems about right.  Adding depth and talent to the offensive line is obviously the headline, but I don't see any other immediate impact players from this class.

John: I give a B+. My reason for the grade is because I feel it addressed needs and with all of the returning talent, it gives them a chance to improve not only this season, but heading forward. It was a lot lower without Prince, but with him onboard, I feel comfortable giving a B+.

Q: Other than Damian Prince, which signee are you most looking forward to see play?

FlaTerp: Derwin Gray, Larry Mazcyk, Brendan Moore and Sean Christie, in that order. Until Maryland has an offensive line that can compete with top-20 teams' offensive lines, Maryland will never be a top-20 caliber team. I'm not sure which of those young linemen are going to make it and which aren't, but I'm eager to find out.

Andrew: Jesse Aniebonam. It may not be for a year or two, but he has all the tools to be an absolutely dynamic defensive force. I said this before I knew they were related, but he reminds me of Osi Umenyiora.

Pete: Will Ulmer. I agree with FlaTerp and Andrew in that A) offensive line is the most important and B) Aniebonam is fun as heck to watch, but Ulmer is a special kind of talent no matter where he ends up on the field. He's lightning quick, has good instincts and I'm excited to see him play during camp.

Brendan: I graduated from the same high school as Will Ulmer (obviously way before he did), and I got to see him play a couple times. I like Ulmer a lot, but Aniebonam from rival Good Counsel is the man I'm looking forward to seeing most. Maryland needs a dynamic pass-rusher. I love quarterbacks and guys that get after the quarterback. Let Aniebonam get after the QB as quick as possible, even if it is just a NASCAR package to start.

Lee: This year I'm looking forward to watching Larry Mazcyk bulldoze some defensive linemen.  Long term, I think Jesse Aniebonam will shut down his side of the field as a Shawne Merriman type of hybrid defender.

John: I see everyone has chosen the linemen, so I will go a different route and look further down the line into the future. I am excited about Winfree as a future wide receiver. He won't see much time, if any, his freshman year, but he has the ability to be a very talented player in the future. I will be paying close attention to that. It's also no secret I love the wide receiver position.

Q: Do you foresee the top three offensive linemen from this recruiting class starting in September?

FlaTerp: I'll take a guess that two of them will. Starting shouldn't be the end-all for a true freshman, though. It's development that really matters. If they don't start, but they get bigger, stronger and more technically sound, that's a win in the longterm.

Andrew: Yeah. They need to get the best football players on the football field, no matter their experience or lack thereof.

Pete: Yep, I think Prince will be at left tackle, Mazyck at right tackle and Gray at right guard. That said, there will be competition at every offensive line position (except for center), which can only be good. By bringing in these five players on the line (and only losing De'Onte Arnett and Mike Madaras), Maryland has really accomplished what they needed to do with this class -- add depth to the offensive line.

Brendan: I hope so. I know what I have in the offensive linemen on the roster already. I want the mystery box of the three young guys in the recruiting class. They could be mediocre or they could be really good. It's like when Peter Griffin could win a boat or take the mystery box "A boat's a boat, but the mystery box could be anything, even a boat"

Lee: I think the top 3 OL recruits will start, but part of me see's Derwin Gray as a back up to start the year.  By the end of the season, I certainly expect to see Mazyck, Prince, and Gray as starters

John: If one can play guard, yes. My guess would be Derwin Gray if that were to happen, but we will see. I foresee Prince starting this upcoming season. If I had to place a bet, I would say all three start this season.

Q: Will you feel comfortable with starting all three of them?

FlaTerp: If three first-year players are starting on the OL, I'd say that's a red flag in terms of how good the team can be.

Andrew: It's not ideal, but again, get the best football players on the field.

Pete: Oh, absolutely not. But I think that's going to be what happens.

Brendan: I want the most talented players on the field. If they are freshmen or new to the program, it doesn't matter. Just get them on the field.

Lee: As a unit, the offensive line will struggle early in the season, but no worse than the 2013 offensive line.  Even with 3 new starters, I can see the 2014 offensive line opening up holes for the running game, and that alone would be a tremendous improvement.

John: After last season, it really cannot be worse, so I feel comfortable starting all three. I see it as an upgrade over last season, but we have to be prepared to see growing pains. Mistakes will be made. Progression over the course of the season is the key.

Q: What do you see as the biggest problem facing Roddy Peters right now? Talent? Confidence?

FlaTerp: I don't really see a problem with Roddy Peters. He's young and he's learning. True freshmen need time. If Peters isn't quite ready, it's more of a Maryland problem that he's been thrust into a key role than it is a Peters problem. He's an exciting player who is going to be fine.

Andrew: What he said.

Pete: I can't speak to what goes on in his head, so I can't comment on the confidence part, but I think it's always going to be an adjustment for true freshmen when headed into conference play. The speed of the game is so much quicker than anything he's seen before, and I think he needs a bit more time to catch up.

Brendan: I disagree with the freshmen need time in conference play argument, but it's not like Peters was a dominant force in the non-conference portion of the schedule either.  Maybe it's an overreaction to his six-minute, three-turnover performance, but it seemed like Peters was just forcing plays trying to make an impact -- it's one of those situations where you figure he's just trying to get things going in the right direction and it's just not happening. Also, I think we all may have had too high expectations for him.

Lee: I think his biggest problem is lack of a credible jump shot to keep defenders honest.  He appears to be a tremendous athlete who just looks a little lost and unfocused on the court.  Long term my expectations haven't changed, I still think he's going to be very very good as he develops.  Adding more shooters next year just makes his ability to penetrate that much more dangerous.

John: Roddy Peters has ability, but he is still learning the game. The biggest problem is he is predictable. What made Greivis Vasquez such a dangerous point guard was his ability to do it all. Now, I don't expect every point guard to go out there and score 20+ points, but the capability needs to be there. Knowing Peters cannot shoot the ball and is looking to pass makes him very predictable.

Q: Florida State prediction:

FlaTerp: FSU isn't a great perimeter team but they had the best perimeter game in school history the last time around. Lightning won't strike twice. Maryland 70, FSU 62.

Andrew: That I will not be fun to hang with during the game. I'll go out on a limb and say Maryland wins in overtime.

Pete: Florida State 68, Maryland 59, and a whole lot of anger.

Brendan: Pain. Lots of pain with a heaping side of sarcasm. Florida State 67, Maryland 63.

Lee: Turgeon hasn't beaten FSU, and that trend will continue - Florida State 77, Maryland 68

John: Maryland hasn't shown me they can win when they need to, and I don't expect that to change. Florida State 71, Maryland 59

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