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Maryland football will have familiar faces at safety in 2017

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

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football received contributions from a cavalcade of safeties in 2016, and nearly the whole crew returns for another round this season.

This position saw a three-man battle for two spots in fall camp last year, with Darnell Savage and Denzel Conyers beating out Josh Woods. Savage held onto his spot all season, but Conyers tore his ACL in the third game of the year, and the spot he vacated was in flux all year. Woods got first crack and struggled, leading to a rotation that included some of Maryland’s younger players.

As a result of that rotation, and of Conyers being granted a redshirt for a sixth and final college season, this is looking like one of the Terps’ deepest positions entering 2017.

Maryland’s safeties

Player Year 2016
Player Year 2016
Darnell Savage JR 59 tackles (45 solo/14 ast), 3.5 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 int, 4 breakups, 5 pass def.
Josh Woods SR 41 tackles (25/16), 1.0 TFL, 2 BU, 2 PD
Qwuantrezz Knight SO 27 tackles (15/12), 0.5 TFL
Denzel Conyers R-SR 13 tackles (11/2); ACL injury in 3rd game ended season
Elijah Daniels SO 8 tackles (3/5), 2 BU, 2 PD
Elisha Daniels SO 4 tackles (4/0)
Markquese Bell FR High School (4-star recruit)

The most likely scenario is Savage and Conyers returning to their starting spots, but any of the others could conceivably disrupt those plans. Woods, Knight and the Daniels twins all had their moments last season, and a step in the direction of consistency would do wonders for any of them. Then there’s Bell, one of the highlights of Maryland’s 2017 recruiting class, who enrolled early and was impressive in spring practice. He’s looking like the future of this position, but might even be its present.

There’s plenty of talent here, so competitions in fall camp should be intense. Whatever combination of safeties emerges at the end of the month, though, Maryland should be in good shape.

In other news

We just finished Cornerbacks Week, the latest in our summer preview series.

Maryland added defensive back Marcus Lewis over the weekend. He’ll be a factor at either corner or safety when he’s eligible in 2018.

The basketball team missed out on 2017 small forward target Jamarko Pickett, who committed to Georgetown on Friday.

Maryland commit Aaron Wiggins showed his explosiveness over the weekend with this dunk.

Cole Field House is open to Terps football practice, and fall camp begins this week. The team is quite excited.