Maryland football’s continued its local offensive lineman pipeline right when DJ Durkin took over as head coach, and that continued with the team’s 2017 recruiting class.
This bodes well for a team that loses the left side of its line.
The Terps didn’t experience any sort of Edsall-era roster attrition when Durkin took over as head coach, but after his first season, several veterans who saw little to no playing time in 2016 bolted for new opportunities. No position group was affected as much as the offensive line, which lost three players.
Left guard Mike Minter was the most notable departure, as he was in line to be a senior starter. The Terps also lost E.J. Donahue and JaJuan Delaney, neither of whom saw the field in 2016.
Maryland rolled mainly with seven offensive linemen last season. Michael Dunn, Minter, Brendan Moore, Terrance Davis and Damian Prince received most or all of the starts at their positions, while Maurice Shelton and Derwin Gray also played key roles. Of that group, only Dunn and Shelton were in their senior seasons.
Minter was a senior academically, and his decision not to stick around leaves some room for uncertainty. Maryland will most likely turn to redshirt sophomore Quarvez Boulware and/or redshirt freshman Richard Merritt to take his place. With some of the Terps’ depth gone, however, the team won’t have as many veteran options as it once expected.
Those shoes will be filled by four promising freshmen.
Minor is the highest-rated member of the group, and he’s the second blue-chip DeMatha guard the Terps have landed in as many years, joining Davis.
McNair is a four-star recruit as well, and he can play just about anywhere on the line. The McDonogh product committed to Maryland hours after last year’s spring game, and never wavered despite getting an offer from Alabama.
Jordan, a three-star center from Gonzaga, joined the class in July. Maryland previously had only Moore on scholarship at the position for 2017, so Jordan filled a need.
Hunt is one of seven early enrollees at Maryland, and the only lineman recruit to do so. He stands 6’7 and has already put on nearly 10 pounds since coming to College Park, Walt Bell said on Facebook Live on National Signing Day.
Here’s the whole group, walk-ons included.
What’s the impact for 2017?
There isn’t an obvious spot for any of the newcomers this fall, but they’ll all have a chance to compete in camp. With Minter gone, Minor probably has the best shot at jumping into the rotation, although Boulware remains the favorite at that spot. It’s possible McNair challenges Gray or Prince for snaps as well.
Jordan will probably be Moore’s backup at center in the short term, but he’s in line to start for at least two years afterwards. Hunt is more of a project than any of the others, but he’s off to a head start by enrolling early.
Most offensive line prospects take time to adjust to the college game, and it won’t be a surprise if this year’s class doesn’t make an immediate splash up front. However, the Terps are in good position here for years to come.