With one senior, one junior and a whole lot of uncertainty on the roster, quarterback was easily identifiable as a position of need for Maryland in the 2015 class. The Terps extended offers to 15 different signal-callers in the class, looking to find someone who could battle Perry Hills and Shane Cockerille for the starting job once Caleb Rowe graduates.
Early on in the process, Maryland zeroed in on four-star Gilman (Md.) prospect Kai Locksley (the son of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley) and three-star Gonzaga (D.C.) player Nick Johns. Johns pledged to Virginia in early May, leaving Locksley as the sole hope for many Maryland fans.
Then, a pair of surprises happened -- one good, one bad. Unknown Frankfort (W.V.) quarterback Gage Shaffer, already standing at 6'7, impressed Maryland at a camp in early June and earned an offer. He committed on the spot, giving the Terps at least one quarterback in the class -- but with plenty of technical fine-tuning still do with Shaffer, there was still room for one more. It would not be Locksley -- he made a surprise verbal commitment to Florida State in late July, joining two other blue-chip quarterbacks (both with Maryland offers) as commits in the Seminoles' 2015 class. Locksley later signed with Texas.
A few other names briefly popped up on the radar before disappearing just as quickly. JuCo quarterback Kelly Hilinski claimed a Maryland offer before signing with Weber State, and Buffalo commit Tyree Jackson was rumored to be a brief target (he ended up staying with the Bulls).
Maryland 2015 quarterbacks in review
Who's leaving: C.J. Brown
Who's coming in: Gage Shaffer, three stars, 37th-best pro-style quarterback, second-best player in West Virginia.
Major targets missed: Kai Locksley (Texas), Nick Johns (Virginia)
Other players with offers: Brady White (Arizona State), Zach Gentry (Michigan), Joe Burrow (Ohio State), Brian Lewerke (Michigan State), David Sills (West Virginia), Brandon Wimbush (Notre Dame), Travis Waller (Oregon), Deondre Francois (Florida State), Sheriron Jones (Tennessee), Lorenzo Nunez (South Carolina), De'Andre Johnson (Florida State)
Projected 2015 depth chart:
2015 Signing Day Grade: C-. Shaffer has tremendous upside, but I don't see him being ready for FBS play for a few years. Rowe is unquestionably the favorite to win the starting job this upcoming season, but Maryland really wanted to bring in someone who could challenge for the position soon after he graduates (there's a possibility they bring in a late transfer, but that gets more unlikely by the day).
There's always a chance that someone like Hills or Cockerille could take great strides next season and cement themselves as a viable backup and future starter, but their lack of playing time during C.J. Brown's late-season struggles makes that a pretty big question mark. Maryland has placed almost all of their eggs in the Dwayne Haskins basket, and if the blue-chip 2016 Bullis prospect stays home, none of this matters all that much anyway.