clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Here’s what Maryland’s QB depth chart might look like, with Caleb Henderson on top

Our stab at projecting the Terps’ depth chart starts with the most important position.

maryland spring practice Alexander Jonesi

Hey guys, spring practice is underway, so we’re going unit-by-unit and projecting what we think the depth chart will look like at each position in 2017. We’ll include notes from spring practice where we can, and we’re starting with the quarterbacks.

Maryland’s quarterback spot has been a black hole for a few years.

The position looks as bright now as it has in a while, but it’s still shrouded in mystery. Maryland saw some improvement from an oft-injured Perry Hills in offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s first year with the team, but quarterback was still a weak spot. This season, whoever starts out under center will be making the first opening-day start of his career.

The players

Departures: Perry Hills (graduation), Caleb Rowe (graduation), Gage Shaffer (transfer)

Returning players: Tyrrell Pigrome, Max Bortenschlager

Transfers: Caleb Henderson, Ryan Brand

Incoming freshmen: Kasim Hill

Projected depth chart

Quarterbacks

Depth chart Player Ht./Wt. Year 247 recruiting rating
Depth chart Player Ht./Wt. Year 247 recruiting rating
Starter Caleb Henderson 6'3/215 Jr. 0.9165
Backup Tyrrell Pigrome 5'11/196 So. 0.8477
Beyond Max Bortenschlager 6'3/200 So. 0.8113
Beyond Kasim Hill 6'2/230 Fr. 0.9076
Beyond Ryan Brand 5'11/190 RSo. 0.8048

Here’s why

Henderson was with with the first team in Thursday’s practice, which was open to the media. This isn’t a surefire projection by any means, but that combined with the fact that they sent Henderson out to talk with reporters following the practice suggests the coaches like what they’re seeing from him so far.

Henderson winning the starting job would make the most sense. He had the best recruiting pedigree of anyone on the roster (see 247 rankings in the chart above), and at 6’3, 215 pounds, had a prototypical quarterback’s build.

Kasim Hill is the best quarterback recruit to sign with Maryland out of high school in a long time, but he’s regular enrollee, so he won’t begin practicing with the team until June. Henderson’s had since last August, and Pigrome and Bortenschlager have both had since last June. The biggest argument to bringing Hill along slowly will be that the team has those other three quarterbacks, and can afford to give Hill time to develop.

Key battle: Henderson vs. everyone

Maryland will give Hill every chance to win that starting job, because that’s how Durkin approaches these things. Everyone will have a shot at it. But if Henderson’s comfortably ahead, Hill shouldn’t see the field in 2017 — at all. While Durkin wasn’t afraid to burn redshirts last season, he wasn’t dealing with anyone who could end up as a program-builder. Saving that year of eligibility is worth it for a player like Hill.

I don’t think we’ll find anything out about Hill for a while. Durkin probably will stay mum on whether he’s redshirting Hill until at least late in the season. But with a guy this promising, he won’t want to waste any eligibility. This means approaching his situation differently than he did Pigrome or Bortenschlager.

But the way Durkin and Bell approach the rest of the depth chart — Hill notwithstanding — means Pigrome and Bortenschlager will have their shots. Each got valuable experience as a true freshman, but Pigrome’s ceiling in Bell’s offense seems higher. His athleticism is great enough that he gives the offense a lot of options. I think he’ll keep the No. 2 spot in camp, though just barely.

Big question: will Pigrome stay at quarterback?

If he doesn’t get that No. 2 spot, Pigrome has the athletic ability to play in a couple different spots in Bell’s offense. However, he was recruited as a quarterback, so he should have every opportunity to go out and win the starting job. Judging from what we know about head coach DJ Durkin’s approach to depth charts, I expect he’ll be given that chance.

But at a certain point, Bell and Durkin owe it to themselves to find a way to get the most out of his athleticism and versatility.

Via BTN

Those additional opportunities would seem to be at slot receiver, kick returner or running back. If Pigrome isn’t getting on the field as a quarterback, the coaching staff would be wasting everyone’s time by leaving him on the bench completely. Bell provided another example of how he might do this in last season’s loss to Indiana:

This wouldn’t even have to mean Pigrome or the coaches would need to abandon his quarterback future forever. He’d just need to also spend time at other positions. While it would stunt his quarterback growth a bit, this could still end up being his best shot at carving out a role for himself.

Of course, there’s still the chance Pigrome polishes up his passing ability enough that he’s a real contender for the starting job by August, or that he’s the clear No. 2 quarterback. In either of those cases, the things I just mentioned would be less imperative.