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Revisiting the Freshmen: Who Will Play?

A little over a week ago, I broke down Maryland's incoming freshmen and the likelihood that their redshirt wouldn't get burned. The situation has cleared itself out a bit, and it would be best served to revisited.

In the vein of Pat Stevens' freshman five, here's the players - more than five, I know - that will probably see some playing time this year, not necessarily in order:

  • Nick Ferrara, PK/KO - Even though I just said it wasn't in order, Nick Ferrara is not only first on the list, but probably the most likely to see PT of some sort. The New Yorker kicker is edging closer and closer to stealing the starting place-kicking job from Mike Barbour every practice, all while securing the kickoff duties on the side. I'd venture to say it's a guarantee that Ferrara sees playing time at some point this year.
  • Darin Drakeford, OLB - Drakeford was a major sleeper when Maryland picked him up, but has proved far more talented than earlier rankings indicated. He's a favorite of LB coach Al Seamonson, and has improved during his time on campus. It also doesn't hurt that he enrolled a semester early to get ready for the year. Seamo said that both he and Avery Murray (below) will see playing time in some fashion this year.
  • Avery Murray, LB - Like Drakeford, he enrolled in the spring, and that time was spent well. Again, Seamo near-guaranteed that he'd see PT, likely on special teams. Unlike Drakeford, however, I don't think he'll see the field at LB barring a disaster scenario.
  • Zach Kerr, DT - Now that Dion Armstrong is gone, the DT tackle could be called a weakness. Though the epic Jack Diamond is there (read: A.J. Francis, for the uninitiated), there's not a lot of depth. Kerr is talented, big, prepped for a year, and enrolled early. He'll see time in the DT rotation, for sure.
  • Eric Franklin, S - New DC Don Brown likes safeties. He likes them so much he plans to use three of them at a time in certain situations. When you're likely using three safeties in regular plays and probably another safety in special teams, there becomes a point when you wonder if you might need a fifth safety. That fifth safety might be Franklin, who's made a lot of noise in practice. He wasn't the highest ranked recruit in Maryland's defensive backfield - that honor goes to Travis Hawkins - but he's proving himself to be a playmaker without making a lot of mistakes.
  • Caleb Porzel, RB/PR/? - CP made a lot of waves recently in scrimmages and practices with his ridiculous quickness and nimble feet. Ralph Friedgen said Maryland will "play the kid somewhere, because he's so explosive". What that somewhere is hasn't been determined yet - it could be at punt returner, kick returner, running back, or a Brian Westbrook-style x-factor, lining up all over the field. Some argue that he won't see enough PT at running back to justify burning his shirt, but his speed has the potential to be game-changing.
  • Maybes: Peter White, G; Bennett Fulper, OL; D.J. Adams, RB; Travis Hawkins, CB; De'Onte Arnett, DE - I wouldn't be confident about any of these guys burning their shirts, but I wouldn't bet against it, either. White could see some time at one of the guard spots if Andrew Gonnella or Lamar Young either get hurt or are unimpressive. Fulper has versatility and has really impressed the staff so far. Adams doesn't have Porzel's versatility, but is a great power back in the mold of Davin Meggett, and could play his way out of a redshirt. The nickel CB position hasn't been locked down yet, and the highly-rated Hawkins could challenge for it. Arnett has an outside of seeing the field at the young, inexperienced, and unproven DE spot.

Even though I consider this rundown to be fully complete, there's always a few headscratchers. Last year it was Matt Furstenburg and Cam Chism. This year, it could be Dexter McDougle and Justin Anderson. You never know about this stuff.