Taivon Jacobs has been at Maryland for four years, but he’s only played one healthy football season. Knee injuries have forced him to redshirt in 2013, ended his season in the 2014 opener, and kept him off the field for all of 2016 as well. Jacobs has one healthy year under his belt, but plenty more what-ifs.
He’s ready to put all of that behind him in his senior season.
“It’s been tough,” Jacobs told reporters Thursday. “Each time that it happens, you have to gain something. You have to get mentally stronger than you were before. You have to have a little extra edge than you did before.”
Jacobs is still rehabbing from his latest surgery, but was able to practice with Maryland all spring. He recorded 68 yards on five catches in Saturday’s spring game, including this touchdown from Tyrrell Pigrome:
The yellow non-contact jersey suggests Jacobs isn’t at 100 percent just yet, but if he’s healthy this fall, the Terps will get a boost from one of their top receivers from 2015. In his lone full season, Jacobs was third on the team with 21 catches, 264 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s got the speed, so he’ll just be running past people,” junior wideout D.J. Moore said. “In practice, it’ll be funny just to watch them try to catch him.”
Maryland’s receiving corps is full of potential impact players, with only Moore—who broke out last season for 41 catches, 637 yards and six scores—seemingly locked into a starting spot. Jacobs and Jacquille Veii both spent most of spring practice with the first team, DJ Turner excelled in the spring game and five freshmen will join the ranks over the summer. Jacobs will have plenty of competition, but there’s definitely a spot for him to seize.
“I think we have a good mix of young and old, and some of those young aren’t here yet,” head coach DJ Durkin said. “Those guys will certainly have the ability to compete and earn their spot, but the guys we have are some experienced guys that we’re counting on for sure.”
Even after three surgeries on his knees, Jacobs is still one of the team’s fastest receivers. He believes his game has become more well-rounded over the years, although injuries have kept him from showing that on the field.
“I try to take each injury and use it as a blessing, whether that’s getting better on the field, gaining weight, getting faster,” Jacobs said. “Some aspect of my game, I try to improve on when I get injured.”
Levern Jacobs, Taivon’s older brother, finished his career with a 41-catch senior season, including 38 receptions in Maryland’s last eight games. After an up-and-down collegiate career, the younger Jacobs is ready to end on a similar high note.
“It helped me because I was a part of his journey. I was alongside of him,” Taivon Jacobs said. “I’ve seen a lot of the things that he had to overcome and had to work hard for, and it just taught me that nothing comes easy, you have to work for everything, and that’s kind of the mentality that I have right now.”