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 player who came on strong as a starter last year after two great seasons off the bench.
Darin Drakeford, Senior, Linebacker, #52
Major: American Studies
Twitter: None that we could find.
Collegiate Stats: 122 tackles (50 assisted), nine and a half for a loss, two sacks, five fumbles forced, one fumble recovered, two pass breakups, one interception
High School Stats (Senior Year): 124 tackles (33 assisted), 22 sacks (school record), eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception, 31 catches for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals (#3 in DC, #77 OLB), Scout (#41 WLB), ESPN (#41 OLB)
High School: Theodore Roosevelt
Hometown: Washington, DC
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Darin Drakeford was the epitome of a player who was just much better than his competition. While DC has produced some good players over the past few years, it’s not on the same level as the WCAC or other local areas, and Drakeford exposed that with some incredible seasons at linebacker and tight end.
Drakeford was pursued by schools like Illinois, Pitt, Syracuse, and Michigan State, but ended up close to home with the Terps after being recruited by James Franklin. Coming out of Roosevelt, Drakeford was 6’0″ and 215 pounds, but has since added around 20 pounds and just looks like a dominant linebacker.
Drakeford was named Washington DC’s player of the Year in his senior year, and was a two-time All-Met selection (first team TE as a senior; second team DL as a junior) as well as a four-time All-DCIAA choice.
After playing in all 12 games and recording 18 tackles as a true freshman, he put it all together as a sophomore, recording 36 tackles as the Terps’ first linebacker off the bench, including a whopping 5.5 for a loss.
Last year, Drakeford started in eight games, missing four due to a nagging ankle injury he suffered in the first game of the season. His four forced fumbles in limited action last season is tied for the most by a Terp in 25 years, and he averaged eight and a half tackles per game.
Darin "Drizzy" Drakeford
Playing so well in limited time last year.
The injury causing said limited time.
Drakeford stays healthy, earning all-conference honors with at least 80 tackles, seven for a loss.
Academic and/or injury issues continue to flare up, causing him to miss significant time.
Darin Drakeford is listed on top of Maryland's depth chart at WILL, above Marcus Whitfield and Clarence Murphy, but missed most of spring practice thanks to academic issues. That means despite his previous accolades and success with the Terps, he is at a slight competitive disadvantage when it comes to both familiarity with Brian Stewart's scheme and the favor of the coaches.
Still, it would be an absolute shock to see anyone but Drakeford starting at WILL. He's been nothing short of great ever since coming to College Park, and the talent behind him isn't exactly screaming for a starting spot. Drakeford will start this spring, and will be a key cog in Maryland's new 3-4 defense.
At the other outside linebacker position, SAM, Maryland is going to either have Kenny Tate or Alex Twine. At one of the inside linebacker spots, it'll either be Cole Farrand or L.A. Goree. Darin Drakeford and Demetrius Hartsfield are the only two certainties Maryland has in their linebacking corps, and they'll need both to be on top of their game this upcoming year if the transition to the 3-4 is going to be a smooth one.
Our next player is a former star safety who has struggled since moving to linebacker.