I was planning on doing all of defense today, until I found out there were twice as many defensive frosh as offensive. That, kids, is what we call bad planning. So I cut it down to defensive lineman and defensive backs, leaving out linebackers (there were six!). Linebackers will be tomorrow. Please forgive me for the delay. Moving on:
Justin Anderson, DE
H/W: 6-5 / 265
HS: Blythewood (Blythewood, SC)
Vital Info: An imposing physical specimen, Anderson has the body and athleticism to be a prototypical college DE. He isn't a finished product yet, and needs to work on his pass-rushing moves and technique. Likewise, he isn't as productive as you would want, and saw a rankings drop in his senior year because of it. He has the tools and a good motor, so he will be good: it's just a matter of time.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 5%. There's a shot he could impress the coaches with his athleticism and see a bit of time, but there's a lot of depth ahead of him.
De'Onte Arnett, DE
H/W: 6-2 / 250
HS: Forestville Military Academy (Forestville, MD)
Vital Info: Arnett isn't your normal DE. He's not a speed rusher at all, but that's not a bad thing: he's great against the run and a bull-rushing specialist. He's still able to get to the QB, but is at his best disrupting the run. His strength is - no pun intended - possibly his biggest strength, but he could use work on his finesse moves. Regardless, I expect him to be a star in a few years.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 40%. A few things contribute to a ranking this high: he was an early enrollee, so the coaches know him, he's at a position of need, and he's one of the better freshmen coming in. If one of Jared Harrell, Derek Drummond, or Masengo Kabongo has trouble, he could see some PT.
Eric Franklin, S
H/W: 6-3 / 190
HS: Archbishop Curley (Baltimore, MD)
Vital Info: A big, aggressive DB, Franklin fits in well with Don Brown's pressing style. Really more of a small linebacker, he's a sure tackler and has good instincts. Speed is an area of concern for Franklin, as is competition in high school. He's versatile and could see himself in a Kenny Tate-like role, moving from S to CB to LB, and even played on offense for Curley.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 1%. There's so much depth at safety that to not be redshirted he'd have to be one of the most talented players in the country. Unfortunately, he's not.
Avery Graham, DB
H/W: 5-10 / 185
HS: Clarksburg (Clarksburg, MD)
Vital Info: Graham's position is very difficult to nail down. He played CB and was rated there by Rivals, but both Scout and ESPN saw him as a safety. His thickness is more inclined to the safety role, while his height is more remiscient of a CB. Either way, he has impressive speed and quickness, and was a track star. He's aggressive and explosive, which again fits in well with Brown's system, but needs more work on discipline and technique.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 1%. There's a lot of depth in the secondary. I doubt he'll get PT, especially when competing with guys like Travis Hawkins. Speaking of....
Travis Hawkins, CB
H/W: 5-10 / 185
HS: Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, MD)
Vital Info: Hawkins might be the most highly-regarded of the incoming freshmen. He's a strong, aggressive cornerback who likes to press, which should be good news for Brown. His speed and athleticism are pretty good for his size, and his instincts and reaction time aren't shabby, either. His quickness is lacking a bit, and he needs a bit of work on his technique. Those aren't big problems, and he could be an elite corner on the level of Josh Wilson or Kevin Barnes.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 10%. He could see the field with a solid fall. There's depth at corner, but once you get past the front two, the depth isn't of the highest quality. If he can prove he belongs, he might see the field in nickel or dime situations.
Zach Kerr, DT
H/W: 6-2 / 330
HS: Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, VA)
Vital Info: Originally a 2008 recruit who prepped at FUMA for a year, Kerr is massive and disruptive. His weight may become an issue in the future, but it's not out of hand right now, and should only get better with a college training program. He has surprisingly quick feet, which afford him a nice burst off the line. He's also a strong kid, making him an effective bull-rusher in the pass game. Like Arnett and Hawkins, he could be a very, very good player.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 40%. Another early enrollee at a position that's not really locked down, Kerr could make a case for playing time, especially now that Cody Blue has left the position for OT. If Dion Armstrong doesn't qualify, he might be necessary.
Dexter McDougle, S
H/W: 6-0 / 185
HS: Stafford (Stafford, VA)
Vital Info: A big time sleeper, McDougle was basically unknown before Maryland picked him up. ESPN, however, is very, very high on him. And really, it's best to let them do the talking. But for the lazy: he's a versatile, exciting gamebreaker who could also play CB or WR. He's athletic and plays with speed and power. He definitely has the talent to leave his mark on the program.
Chance He Isn't Redshirted: 10%. His versatility gives him a shot at several positions, and he seems to be a pretty talented guy. Unfortunately, the Terps have great depth at those positions outside of corner, and he'll have to do better than Under Armor All-American Travis Hawkins.