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Maryland football’s potential banks heavily on the success of its offensive line

The Terps return just one starter on the offensive line.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 15 Maryland at Indiana
Delmar Glaze is Maryland’s only starting offensive lineman to return this fall.
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As fall camp began, Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley declared that his team was “ready to compete for Big Ten championships.” Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis then said that the depth of the offensive line was an “area of concern.”

Since joining the Big Ten, Maryland’s weakest link in conference play has been its offensive line, and with all but one starter from last year gone, this year’s team will need solid play up front to reach its potential.

Last year, the Terps surrendered 43 sacks, the worst mark in the conference. Can they flip the script in Taulia Tagovailoa’s last season? With only one expected starter having power conference experience, it’s tough to see Maryland being able to compete at the line of scrimmage against the upper echelon of the conference.

With that said, let’s continue Testudo Times’ position preview series as we look at Maryland’s jumbled-up offensive line.

Maryland’s 2023 offensive line depth

Delmar Glaze Junior (RS) 6'5" 328 lbs
Corey Bullock Senior 6'4" 331 lbs
Aric Harris Senior 6'3" 295 lbs
Amelio Morán Senior (RS) 6'5" 311 lbs
Gottlieb Ayedze Senior 6'5" 320 lbs
Marcus Dumervil Junior (RS) 6'6" 301 lbs
Mike Purcell Graduate 6'4" 325 lbs
Kyle Long Sophomore (RS) 6'6" 328 lbs
Andre Roye Jr. Freshman (RS) 6'6" 273 lbs
Ja'Kavian Nonar Freshman (RS) 6'7" 274 lbs
Kevin Kalonji Junior 6'5" 333 lbs
Conor Fagan Junior (RS) 6'8" 300 lbs
Tamarus Walker Freshman 6'4" 327 lbs
Khristopher Love Junior (RS) 6'3" 327 lbs
Deandre Duffus Freshman 6'4" 332 lbs
Billy Molloy Freshman 6'7" 258 lbs

Question marks for the starters

Maryland has ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in sacks against every year since 2018, and it hasn’t finished in the top six in rushing yards either. So with four starters from last year gone — three to the NFL — where does the Terps offensive line stand? Well, with a lot of question marks.

“[Offensive line] coach Braswell does a great job developing offensive linemen,” Gattis said. “Obviously, for us to lose three guys to the National Football League is tough ... we’ve got to raise guys up fast.

As of now, Maryland looks to line up as the following: Delmar Glaze at right tackle, North Carolina Central transfer Corey Bullock at right guard, Aric Harris at center, Amelio Morán at left guard and Frostburg State transfer Gottlieb Ayedze at left tackle.

Glaze is the outlier of the group — one with Big Ten success under his belt. A 2022 All-Big Ten honorable mention, Glaze was sneakily one of the best tackles in the conference last season. His Pro Football Focus grade of 85.7 was the seventh-highest among all tackles in FBS, making it no surprise that he was named to the preseason All-Big Ten second team.

Glaze is surrounded by two upperclassmen transfers in Bullock and Ayedze and two returners in Harris and Morán.

“Though we lost a lot of production in terms of experience up front, we felt like the portal allowed us to to maybe fill some of those gaps that have been created when you lose players to the NFL like we did a year ago,” Locksley said.

Looking at the transfers first, Ayedze thrived at Division II Frostburg State. A four-year starter, he was a three-time All-MEC first team selection. The success speaks volumes, but how his game will translate the Big Ten is a great unknown.

And the same goes for Bullock, who spent two seasons at North Carolina Central. In his last season, he led the Eagles line with a grade of 85.0 and was named to the All-MEAC second team.

Glaze showed both his concern and confidence in Maryland bringing in five transfers.

“The Big Ten is definitely not easy,” Glaze said. “So, you know, making those jumps is always, I feel, is always going to be tough. But these guys came in and dominate in practice. So I feel like they’re getting used to it.”

Looking at the returners who are expected to see the most snaps, Morán and Harris do have valuable experience in Maryland’s system. Combined, they’ve made 39 appearances over the past two seasons.

Harris seemingly has worked toward the role of a full-time starter, making 12 starts at center in his two seasons with the Terps. A starting role will be a little more foreign for Morán, though, who has not started a game in his three years at Maryland.

What can be expected with Maryland’s depth

There’s no question that Tagovailoa will need time to make connections with his new line, and running back Roman Hemby will work to find new holes in his sophomore campaign. But maybe the biggest concern for the offensive line is its depth.

Linemen are constantly substituted out and injured, but some of Maryland’s toughest competitors are confident with what they have on the bench.

For Maryland, there’s a bit of an unknown factor as you go deeper down the depth chart.

“[It’s] an area that we’ve got to kind of see and make some decisions quickly with,” Locksley said. “As you go through our depth chart, [there’s] competition here with the guys we brought in and all the returning guys in that room. Big, healthy competition.”

“Obviously there’s gonna be some key areas along the offensive line where we’ve got to continue to build depth,” Gattis said.

Leading that group of unknowns is Marcus Dumervil, who arrives in College Park after three seasons at LSU. The former four-star recruit never found a solid role for himself with the Tigers, but has a prime opportunity to revive his career with the Terps. With the season less than three weeks away, it would not be a surprise if Dumervil slid into a starting role at guard.

“We brought in some transfers in the spring and then post-spring that have played college football in other places,” Gattis added. “And so now it’s about coming together collectively as one unit. You’ve got to make five and you’ve got to turn them into one. You know, they got to speak the same, they got to walk the same.”

Some other intriguing transfers include Mike Purcell (Elon) and Kevin Kalonji (Coffeyville Community College), but for different reasons.

Experience is always an important factor when discussing the line of scrimmage, and Purcell has tons of it; He’s entering an unprecedented seventh collegiate season. Despite missing a majority of the 2021 season, he has 33 games under his belt.

And for Kalonji, he was a high profile transfer out of junior college. According to 247Sports, he was the No. 11 JUCO offensive tackle last season and is entering his third collegiate season.

The Terps also have two true freshmen with potential to see some snaps in three-star guards Tamarus Walker and Deandre Duffus. Walker looks to have the higher upside, as the Baltimore native was the top-ranked guard from the state in his class.

With all the new faces Maryland has, the key is still health. If the offensive line can remain healthy, it should be able to gel into a cohesive unit as the season progresses.

“We’ve got to stay healthy,” Gattis added. “I think that’s a key piece whenever you bring in potentially new starters.”

Returners-wise, redshirt sophomore right guard Kyle Long and redshirt freshman Andre Roye Jr. should see an uptick in snaps after receiving playing time, but the upcoming season is shaping up to be a year where experience is crucial for the Terps offensive line.

“In the Big Ten, really, no joke, like, games can be won or lost over something that happens in the trenches,” Glaze said. “So definitely trying to make sure that we’re sharp. We know what’s going on. And you know, we’re ready to compete with any anybody who lines up in front of us.”