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Maryland should be strong at WR even without Stefon Diggs and Deon Long

Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are gone, but Maryland's 2015 wide receiver corps is far from a depleted group. While they lack the star power last year's squad had, this season's selection of pass-catchers has plenty of depth.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Even with running back-turned-wide receiver Jacquille Veii transferring from the program this spring, Maryland will have 10 receivers on the roster this fall.

Only three receivers on 2015's roster had more than 10 catches in 2014. No player really developed into a clear third option behind Diggs and Long last year, although perhaps an offense quarterbacked by C.J. Brown is not meant to serve more than two receivers regularly.

These 10 receivers can be split up fairly easily. The Terps started three players at the position in all but two games last year. Behind the starters, several other players will probably see significant, if sporadic, playing time throughout the year. Behind those players are the younger guys who probably aren't going to see the field very often, and are still in a "developing" phase.

Probable starters:

Marcus Leak: it's dangerous to put too much stock in spring practice, but Leak had a monster spring game and is a prime contender for a starting job in 2015. If the senior can be more consistent, he'll likely be a go-to option for Caleb Rowe. In his sophomore season, Leak started the first seven games, totaling 23 catches and two touchdowns before a broken toe ended his season. Leak can also be a big-play candidate for the Terps. He had a respectable 14.9 yards-per-catch average in 2014.

Levern Jacobs: The team's other senior wideout missed all of 2014 due to suspension, but showed many encouraging signs in his sophomore year, when he led the team in receptions and receiving yards. Jacobs broke out for an eight-catch, 158-yard performance against Clemson that year, showing off his big-play ability with a 71-yard touchdown catch.  Perhaps he and Caleb Rowe can re-ignite the magic they used on this 56-yard touchdown against Wake Forest in 2013.

Maryland's Caleb Rowe Throws 56-Yard TD to... by ACCDigitalNetwork

Key contributors/potential starters:

Taivon Jacobs: Levern's younger brother was poised to earn a starting job at receiver and kick returner as a redshirt freshman last season, but sustained a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year against James Madison.  Even though the coaching staff was high on him last preseason, Jacobs still hasn't done anything in an actual game, so he's a question mark until we actually get to see him out on the field. He tore his ACL on that same knee in high school, so his recovery from this new injury will be something to watch. Even if he's not a starter, Jacobs figures to make an impact when he returns to full health.

Juwann Winfree: The rising sophomore had 11 catches for 158 yards last year, which is kind of like a really good Stefon Diggs game spread out over an entire season. The fact that he was a part of the rotation as a true freshman is a good sign for this year. He'll definitely get some playing time, and a few starts are not out of the question.

Amba Etta-Tawo: He figures to get some playing time and some starts- after all, he started the last six games of last season. The rising junior led the team with an average of 22.2 yards per catch.


DeAndre Lane: Lane had a 52-yard catch in the spring game to set up a Marcus Leak touchdown in what would be a dream scenario for the regular season. Lane is facing an uphill battle on the depth chart for 2015, but 2016 could be his year.

Will Ulmer: the converted quarterback redshirted last season. Ulmer has great speed and could develop into a playmaker for the Terps, but he too will probably be blocked on the depth chart this season. Still, the team could use his quarterback talents for some exciting trick plays.

Malcolm Culmer: Only had one catch last year for five yards. Doesn't figure to contribute much this year.

D.J. Moore: Barring bad injury luck, the true freshman three-star recruit will probably spend most of his time on the bench and is a candidate to redshirt the season. There is simply too much depth in front of him for the Pennsylvania product to crack the rotation.

Jahrvis Davenport: Ditto, although Moore has the better chance of early playing time of the two.

Possibly more important than anything mentioned above is the play of quarterback Caleb Rowe. The junior, who has two years of eligibility thanks to a medical redshirt for 2014, is entering a college season as the starter for the first time. Rowe filled in for Brown numerous times when the former starter was injured, but now he gets the first team all to himself. It will be interesting to see how he handles the responsibility, and the success of the receivers and the team as a whole will be dependent on Rowe being a steady, if not flashy, leader taking the team into its second season in the Big Ten.