Maryland football released its depth chart for Saturday’s season opener at Texas on Monday afternoon. Tyrrell Pigrome is the Terps’ starting quarterback, but a handful of other positional battles have been decided as well.
HERE'S MARYLAND'S DEPTH CHART IN ALL ITS GLORY pic.twitter.com/6nVZkURWCE— Thomas Kendziora (@TKendziora37) August 28, 2017
We’ve all had a few minutes to look at it. Here’s what we know:
There are underclassmen everywhere.
Jared: There is a sophomore, redshirt freshman or freshman in the two-deep at every offensive and defensive position, save one cornerback spot. The trend toward youth is most visible on the offensive line, where three true freshmen, a redshirt freshman and a sophomore are backing up the starters. While that certainly bodes well for future offensive lines, there are a lot of unknowns as far as depth goes for this season.
Pigrome, a sophomore, leads the way at quarterback for now, but true freshman Kasim Hill was breathing down his neck in camp and could take over the starting spot at any time if he keeps it up. Sophomore Max Bortenschlager is the third-string quarterback, but is listed as the holder.
Freshman receivers Sean Nelson and Tahj Capehart will back up D.J. Moore and Jacquille Veii, respectively, on the outside.
Maryland’s backfield is composed almost exclusively of underclassmen, with Ty Johnson being the only junior. The Terps return their “Presidential Backfield” of Johnson and sophomore Lorenzo Harrison, who’ll see his first game action since November of last year. Notably absent from the running backs section are Maryland’s three true-freshmen, Anthony McFarland, Javon Leake and Tayon Fleet-Davis. DJ Durkin hasn’t been shy about listing as many players as he wants at certain positions. Perhaps three was enough for now, and he doesn’t feel like tipping his hand at how, or if, the other three will be used this season.
Antoine Brooks is a nickel corner now.
Thomas: Brooks played defensive back in high school, but was recruited as a linebacker and saw some time there last season. During the offseason, though, he lost nearly 15 pounds and spent most of his time at practice as a safety. It made some sense because Maryland’s defensive scheme only uses two linebackers on most downs, and most linebackers can’t do this.
This spot might be interchangeable with the safety spot occupied by junior Darnell Savage, who played cornerback as a freshman before switching to free safety last year. Savage is still listed as 20 pounds lighter than Brooks, so he might be more suited to guard opposing wideouts. But either way, it’s a testament to Brooks’ athleticism and adaptability that he was able to slide into his new position so easily.
Shane Cockerille’s back.
Lamar: Cockerille was suspended prior to the Quick Lane Bowl for academic reasons, and Durkin has called his situation “day-to-day” throughout open practices, but the senior will enter Week 1 as a starter. It’s worth noting that cornerback JC Jackson was listed as a starter last season’s opener against Howard before being held out for academic reasons. However, for now, Cockerille will rejoin a linebacking tandem with Jermaine Carter Jr.
Cockerille was second only to Carter in tackles last season, finishing with 108 despite missing the bowl. It was his first season at the position, previously playing quarterback and fullback. If he stays on top of his academics, it’s not unreasonable to expect a repeat performance or an improvement. Cockerille’s return also fortifies the Terps’ linebacking depth, as his backup, Isaiah Davis, has impressed throughout fall camp.