To build up to football season (camp starts first week of August!), we're breaking down all the position battles on the team, from backup QB to starting RT to punt returner. Check back throughout the coming week for another position battle every day. We'll kick off the festivities with Z WR.
The Z wide receiver (as opposed to F or X WR) was firmly in the clutches of Emani Lee-Odai at the beginning of spring practice, but after an apparently poor spring - he's now #3 at X - the position is entirely up for grabs. Z isn't quite as important as the other two WR positions, which are certainly going to top guys Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler, but the winner will still see plenty of field. Just ask last year's Z receiver, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The Contenders: LaQuan Williams, Tony Logan, Quintin McCree, Kevin Dorsey, Emani Lee-Odai
LaQuan Williams: Williams had a great freshman year; he was named to the Freshman All-ACC team, with good reason. He had solid hands and found the holes in the defense. Of course, last season he was out the entire year with a leg injury. There's no doubt he's talented, but the durability issue has to be a concern. Plus, he missed the spring recovering from the injury, so fall will be the first time he's played football in a year. If he can prove that he's the old LaQuan Williams, he should win the battle. That's no guarantee, however, so we'll have to see how he fares.
Tony Logan: The current leader at ZWR, Logan is a former HS QB who has been poorly utilized in his time at Maryland. After converting to WR (just like Torrey Smith did), Logan has seen almost no playing time since arriving on campus - last year, he had 0 catches. I actually can't remember him playing a down as a WR. It's a shame, because he's explosive, quick, and can evade tacklers - something neither Torrey Smith nor Ronnie Tyler bring to the equation. He'll probably get his shot returning punts, but it'd be great to get him on the field on a regular basis.
Quintin McCree: McCree, like Logan, had absolutely no catches last year. He's lightning fast - the third fastest 40 time on the team, and that was when DHB was on the team - and combines that with decent size. Obviously, that combination hadn't produced results. That is, it hadn't until the 2009 spring practice. McCree put up three TDs in the game, leading all players in both yards and TDs. He may not have the background of Torrey Smith or Ronnie Tyler, but no one competing for this job (except possibly ELO) does. You have to think he can challenge for the spot in fall practice.
Kevin Dorsey: Dorsey is probably on the outside looking in right now, even moreso than ELO. However, the lead that McCree and Logan have isn't so sizable that he can't make it up in fall practice. Dorsey was a favorite for most Terp fans - an early commit, a solid 4 star WR, president of his high school class, wore a suit the first time he met Fridge, so on and so forth - and he can definitely play. He has surprisingly good body control for someone his size, and is an extremely hard worker with a great motor. Coaches always reward those types of kids, so Dorsey will probably see the field, even if he doesn't start.
Emani Lee-Odai: Easily the most experienced out of the options outside of Williams, Lee-Odai was given this position at the start of spring training. He apparently couldn't hold it, as he's now the third-stringer at the X spot. That's not to say he couldn't get back into it - he's fast, has solid hands, and is proven in game situations. If he rededicates himself in practice and the coaches aren't comfortable with Logan/McCree/Dorsey, I wouldn't be surprised to find him back here.
Prediction: Dorsey will see some PT, but it's McCree's or Logan's to lose right now. That is, of course, assuming Williams doesn't return to full strength with no issues, which is far from guaranteed. If he is healthy, he has to be the favorite. If not, I think McCree will come out ahead in the end, especially because he has that boost from the spring game.