A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile a possible starting cornerback.
Jeremiah Johnson, Sophomore (RS), Cornerback, #14
Major: Criminal Justice
Collegiate Stats: Five tackles (one assisted)
High School Stats (Senior Year): 99 tackles and four interceptions, 11 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals (#20 in Maryland), two stars by Scout (#121 S), ESPN (#78 CB)
High School: Suitland
Hometown: Forestville, Md.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
In 2008, Suitland's head coach, Nick Lynch, tragically died in a car accident. I'll let new head coach Ed Shields, by way of Matt Bracken, tell the rest of the story:
"We lost our head coach last year," said Ed Shields, who was elevated from defensive backs coach to head coach after Lynch’s passing, "and Jeremiah really took over team leadership. We didn’t go as far as we would have liked to go during the season, but to come back from that type of stuff [was impressive]. ... It was a time where you needed people to stand up and he was one of the people who stood up. Every time you go out on the field, at least in the beginning, you started to think about our coach. He was a big presence and he had a big affect on their lives. So anybody that helps you get through that transition period ... is a big deal. He really helped pull everyone together and helped keep the kids focused."
Johnson, the new team captain, helped lead the team to a 9-2 record and an appearance in the 4A semifinals. He was moved from cornerback to safety to become more involved in the defense - Shields said it was the only way to stop opposing teams from completely avoiding Johnson.
Maryland was the first school to offer Johnson, and it took him all of five minutes to accept. He redshirted his first season, and then played nine games as a back-up corner and on special teams last year. He had one tackle in five different games, and enters this season on top of the spring depth chart at corner.
"J.J." That's an easy one.
Entering spring ball on top of the depth chart at one of the corner positions.
A.J. Hendy moving to corner.
Johnson holds off Hendy, keeping his starting spot at corner and doing a solid job on the outside.
Relegated to nickel back duty as Hendy wins the starting job.
Heading into spring ball, Jeremiah Johnson was the presumed starter at cornerback, alongside Dexter McDougle. After Avery Graham's departure from the program, Randy Edsall decided to move A.J. Hendy back over to corner from safety, giving J.J. some competition at the corner spot. No matter what, he's going to see significant time in Maryland's secondary this year.
I would expect Hendy to end up being the starter - he played more last season (and had a better year), and was a much more highly-touted recruit coming out of high school. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Johnson started - the coaches like him and he showed enough to be the starter heading in to spring practice when they still had the depth to back him up.
And no, I'm not going to say Johnson could return kicks too. But, who knows? He might.
Our next player was injured for nearly all of last season.