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Maryland football needs its young cornerbacks to step up in 2017

This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

Maryland v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Maryland started 2016 with two senior cornerbacks leading a veteran secondary. That held true for half the season, but when Will Likely suffered a college career-ending injury against Minnesota, the position was thrown in flux.

The Terps’ switched to a 4-2-5 defense under DJ Durkin and staff opened up the nickel cornerback spot, where Likely excelled while he was healthy. With him gone, though, Maryland used a cavalcade of young corners to fill two spots.

Entering this season, the group is still young, with only a couple known quantities to lead the way. But adding four players in 2017, from junior college or the recruiting trail, definitely helps.

Maryland’s cornerbacks

Player Year 2016
Player Year 2016
JC Jackson R-JR 40 tackles (29 solo/11 ast), 1.0 TFL, 1 int, 6 breakups, 7 pass def., 1 FF
RaVon Davis R-JR 24 tackles (16/8), 1.0 TFL, 4 BU, 4 PD
Tino Ellis SO 9 tackles (5/4), 3 BU, 3 PD
Antwaine Richardson SO 2 tackles (2/0), 2 BU, 2 PD
Alex Woods R-JR Junior College
Deon Jones FR High School (4-star recruit)
Fofie Bazzie FR High School (3-star recruit)
Kenny Bennett FR High School (3-star recruit)

Jackson transferred to Maryland last summer and performed well once he was academically cleared to play. Davis, another junior college transfer, saw most of the time at nickel corner in the second half of the season. This wasn’t a deep group in 2016, so Ellis was able to work his way up the depth chart and earn a start after being recruited as a wide receiver.

All three should be fixtures here in 2017, even if they won’t be firmly entrenched as starters together. Richardson and Woods might be the next men up, and they should both see time in passing situations when Maryland needs to load up on defensive backs. The wild card here is Deon Jones, who was the second-highest rated recruit in the Terps’ 2017 class and enrolled early but is still recovering from a knee injury. Bazzie also joined the team in the spring, which should give him the edge over Bennett for now.

In other news

We’ve finished Linebackers Week and are already seven weeks into our summer preview series.

Maryland added long snapper James Rosenberry to its team this weekend.

Jake Layman has a new Maryland-themed jacket that was so cool we decided to write about it.

Jamarko Pickett visited College Park this weekend. His decision should be known in the next couple days.