Profiles in Terpage is back for 2017. Over the last two weeks, we focused on receivers and tight ends; this week, we’re looking at Maryland’s offensive linemen.
Our projected starter: Brendan Moore, junior, No. 64
Moore started all 13 games at center for Maryland last season, and there’s no reason to think he’ll give up that spot any time soon. His work ethic and competitiveness won DJ Durkin over early on, and Moore’s been the centerpiece of the Terps’ offensive line ever since. His play last season landed him on the Rimington Award spring watch list for the second consecutive season.
The theme across the whole offensive line has been it’s good at run blocking, but not so good at pass blocking. Any improvement in pass blocking may start with Moore. As the center, he’s responsible for identifying potential blitzers and making the necessary pre-snap line adjustments based on the front the defense shows. At 6’3, 300 pounds, Moore is also more than capable of pulling and opening holes for Maryland’s running backs—a pulling center is a big part of Walt Bell’s offensive scheme.
Next in line: Ellis McKennie, RS sophomore, No. 68; Johnny Jordan, freshman
As I mentioned yesterday, McKennie is likely to serve as the “swing guy” on the interior line, ready to fill in at any of the three positions at a moment’s notice. (Spoiler alert: he’ll be listed in this section again tomorrow when we move to right guards!) He isn’t naturally a center, but has the measurables and mobility to play there if necessary in the event that Jordan redshirts or is deemed not-yet-ready to fill in for Moore. This is a role that looked like it was going to be Quarvez Boulware’s to lose, but he opted to leave the program this spring.
Jordan, on the other hand, is a natural center and could get some burn during the season if his fall camp performance warrants it. Durkin has shown he’s comfortable with not redshirting a guy who shows he deserves to be on the field, but the offensive line is another animal, especially when it comes to Big Ten play. That said, Jordan has the mean streak and toughness you’d look for in an offensive lineman, especially a center. His 6’1, 300-pound frame is also ideal for the position. If he shows enough in August, he may end up being the first option off the bench if Moore needs to come out for a few plays. Only time will tell.
We will continue our predictable left-to-right trip across the offensive line and look at the right guards!