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Rookies of impact: Freshmen who made contributions in 2013

Looking at the freshmen who helped Maryland football make its first bowl game of the Edsall era

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Freshmen are always a big question mark heading into each season. Will the strongest recruits live up to the hype? Will any of the less heralded ones rise above the pack? Will they be ready in case of injury? Maryland's injury woes meant that several freshman who may have otherwise redshirted or who weren't expected to see the field much played significant minutes in 2013. Here's a look at those who made contributions this past year:

#4 William Likely, Defensive Back

One of Maryland's most highly touted recruits, Will Likely lived up to expectations and more in his rookie campaign. Stepping into a high-pressure situation at cornerback after Jeremiah Johnson went down before the season and Dexter McDougle had season-ending surgery back in September, Likely played in all 13 of Maryland's games, making 70 tackles (51 solo), good for fifth on the team. When Stefon Diggs broke his leg against Wake Forest, Likely became the Terps top option at punt and kickoff returner and totaled 934 yards on 44 returns on the season.

Against Virginia Tech, he scored his first career touchdown when he returned a punt 63 yards. It was Maryland's first punt return for a touchdown since 2010 and first special teams touchdown of the season. In that game, he totaled 106 return yards and was named ACC Rookie of the Week for his efforts. He currently stands 26th in the nation for average yards on kickoff returns.

After the season, Likely was named to Third Team Freshman All-American by Athlon Sports. He was also named Second Team Freshman All-American and Second Team All-ACC by Phil Steele. All were as a kick returner. He also received two votes for ACC Rookie of the Year.

Likely was the only true freshman this season to be awarded a game ball by the coaching staff, an honor he received twice (for defense against Old Dominion and for special teams against Virginia Tech). He was also the only true freshman on the team to be chosen as a pre-game flag bearer, a job he had for the game versus Syracuse.

#84 Amba Etta-Tawo, Wide Receiver*

The speedy Etta-Tawo was thrust into a starting job after fellow wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long went down midway through the season. In the loss to Syracuse he totaled 109 receiving yards and against NC State, he caught four catches for a game-high 101 yards.

On the season, he totaled 500 receiving yards (third on the team) on 31 catches for an average of 16.1. He also scored two touchdowns.

#7 Yannick Ngakoue, Linebacker

One of the centerpieces of Maryland's 2013 class, Ngakoue had a lot of promise but had to compete with senior Marcus Whitfield and Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil for playing time at outside linebacker. Cudjoe-Virgil saw his season shortened after he tore his pectoral muscle against Virginia, and Ngakoue got an opening. He played in all 13 of Maryland's games backing up Whitfield and recorded two sacks, 10 tackles (six solo) and 4.5 tackles for loss. He also grabbed a goal-line interception against Old Dominion early in the season.

#30 Kenneth Goins, Fullback*

After redshirting in 2012, Goins played in all 13 of Maryland's games in 2013 after taking over the starting fullback position after Tyler Cierski went down with a calf injury in preseason. The Baltimore native caught four passes for 49 total yards, picked up 48 rushing yards, and scored a touchdown versus FIU. Goins also added nine tackles (six solo) on the season.

Goins was awarded a game ball from the coaching staff for his efforts on special teams against NC State, and was selected to be a pre-game flag bearer twice in 2013 (versus Florida State and Syracuse).

#34 Jacquille Veii, Running Back

Originally expected to play cornerback for the Terps and possibly redshirt, Veii instead was put at running back and rushed for 146 yards on 39 carries 11 games in his freshman year. His longest run was 26 yards and he also added five catches for 18 yards, finishing with a total of 164 yards on the season.

#83 Malcolm Culmer, Wide Receiver*

Culmer, a 2012 redshirt, wasn't expected to see much playing time at all this year behind the likes of Diggs, Long, and King. But the Terps wide receiver injury woes led to him appearing in 12 games, and he caught five catches for 59 yards. His season highlight was a 26-yard catch that came in the win against UConn, a game where he stepped up after King went down with a leg injury almost immediately. Culmer got his first start against WVU with King still out, but went back to backing him up after that.

#46 Abner Logan, Inside Linebacker*

One of Maryland's most promising recruits in the class of 2012, Logan sat out that season as a redshirt. In 2013, he backed up L.A. Goree at ILB and saw playing time in 12 games as he got experience under veterans at the position. He recorded 37 tackles (22 solo) on the year, recovered a fumble, and even received his first career start against Wake Forest after Goree was a last-minute scratch with back spasms.

#32 Jarrett Ross, Defensive Back

The brother of running back Brandon Ross, speedy Jarrett Ross was expected to possibly redshirt his freshman year. But the Terps' injuries at cornerback resulted in him playing in all but one of Maryland's games, and he made seven tackles (six solo). He finished the season second on the depth chart at cornerback behind fellow true freshman Will Likely.

#13 DeAndre Lane, Wide Receiver

Lane showed promise as both a wide receiver and kick returner in practice, but injuries from a concussion in practice and, later, his hamstring, shortened his season to just three games. The freshman otherwise would've had a chance to step up in wake of Diggs and Long both going down. The highlight of Lane's season was a 19-yard kickoff return against Old Dominion.

#88 PJ Gallo, Tight End*

Gallo redshirted in 2012 and spent 2013 at No. 2 in the depth chart at tight end, behind senior Dave Stinebaugh. Gallo didn't have any catches but appeared in every game and returned one kickoff, albeit for negative one yards.

#44 Andrew Isaacs, Tight End

Like Gallo, Isaacs was also stuck behind Stinebaugh for the 2013 season but still appeared in 11 games. Isaacs worked his way up the depth chart though, starting at No. 4 and finishing the year tied at No. 2 with Gallo. Isaacs also had a pair of assisted tackles.

#29 Joe Riddle, Running Back*

Listed as a running back, Riddle redshirted in 2012 before appearing in 12 games for the Terps in 2013. He took one kickoff return, returning it in the NC State game for nine yards.

*Indicates the player redshirted in 2012