Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada confirmed the worst on Tuesday: redshirt freshman quarterback Kasim Hill is out for the season with a torn ACL. This is his second time suffering that injury in as many seasons (right knee last year, left knee this time). Redshirt sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome will start for the Terps against Ohio State.
That means Maryland, officially, has still only had a quarterback start every game once (2014) in the last 12 seasons. Back in 2006, senior Sam Hollenbach started all 13 contests as the Terps posted a 9-4 record. Since then, it’s been a chaotic carousel with mixed results and plenty of adversity.
Here’s the timeline of the last 12 seasons. Proceed at your own risk.
Jordan Steffy started the first five games, then suffered a season-ending concussion against Rutgers. Chris Turner started the final eight contests in his place. Maryland went 6-7.
Steffy was back under center to start the season ... and it didn’t last at all. He broke his thumb on his throwing hand in the opener against Delaware, so Turner filled in for the final 12 games. Maryland went 8-5.
Turner, now a senior, started the first nine games but suffered an injury against NC State. Jamarr Robinson took over for the last three outings. Neither was very good. Maryland went 2-10.
Robinson started against Navy, Morgan State and West Virginia, but an injury forced freshman Danny O’Brien under center. (Redshirt freshman C.J. Brown was already out for the season after breaking his collarbone against Morgan State.) O’Brien took advantage of the opportunity, throwing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. He won ACC Rookie of the Year. Maryland went 9-4 in what would be Ralph Friedgen’s last season as head coach.
O’Brien started seven games and then-redshirt sophomore Brown started five. Maryland went 2-10 in Randy Edsall’s first campaign.
This is when the real heartbreak starts. Maryland started this year 4-2, but lost its last six as the injuries piled up.
Brown, who was the undisputed starter after O’Brien transferred out, tore his ACL before the season began. True freshman Perry Hills started the first seven games, but suffered a season-ending ACL injury against NC State. Sophomore Devin Burns suffered a foot injury the following week. Another true freshman, Caleb Rowe, entered in relief and started the next game against Boston College, but tore his ACL on the final play of the contest.
With four quarterbacks out and four games remaining, enter freshman walk-on linebacker Shawn Petty. He went 39-of-84 for just 500 yards passing, but threw six touchdowns to two interceptions. Petty returned to defense the following season, totaling 24 tackles for loss and two sacks, then transferred to Marshall.
Brown started all but two games, with Rowe stepping in his place for those other contests. Maryland went 7-6.
Brown, in his sixth season, started every game. The accomplishment grows increasingly impressive with each passing day. He wasn’t superb, completing 53.4 percent of his throws for 2,288 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 picks. Rowe and Hills made guest appearances, although Rowe suffering another torn ACL kept him from challenging for the job again. Maryland went 7-6 again.
There were actually no serious injuries at the quarterback position this year. Everyone was just horrible. Maryland went 3-9 and fired Edsall halfway through the season after extending his contract in June.
Hills started eight games and Rowe started four. The duo combined to throw for 14 touchdowns and 28 interceptions while completing under 50 percent of passes. Daxx Garman went 6-of-18 in two appearances, but the comedic highlight was when fullback Shane Cockerille, who was a highly-touted quarterback recruit in high school, played the entire second half of the Terps’ loss to Indiana. He went 11-of-23 for 82 yards; while that wasn’t noticeably worse than the actual quarterbacks, Cockerille wouldn’t stick at the position. He actually played his last two years at linebacker in an incredible “reverse Shawn Petty.”
Hills was back under center to begin DJ Durkin’s first year, and Maryland started 4-0 against a soft early schedule, but he went down in a loss at Penn State. Pigrome, then a true freshman, earned his first career start the following week. Fellow rookie Max Bortenschlager made the start against Nebraska later in the season, and Rowe made scattered relief appearances, but Hills ultimately started 11 games. Maryland went 6-7.
Pigrome started the season opener against Texas, and shook off a pick-six on his first throw to go 9-of-12 for 175 yards and two scores. But then he tore his ACL in the third quarter. Hill stepped in and helped the Terps complete the upset, then looked dominant against Towson as Maryland won 63-17. But in the first quarter against UCF, Hill tore his ACL. That was the third game.
To make matters worse, Caleb Henderson, the UNC transfer who took first-team reps all spring, was still injured after breaking his foot in spring practice. The former four-star prospect ultimately never completed a pass for Maryland and is now a Division II quarterbacks coach.
And that’s how Bortenschlager made eight starts. Even he went down injured in a loss to Rutgers, so walk-on Ryan Brand was the next man up. He nearly saved Maryland in that game and started the following week against Michigan. So four different starters, and the leader in spring camp wasn’t one of them.
Hill started 10 games, but was much less effective than anyone expected. The redshirt freshman completed just 49.4 percent of his passes for 1,083 yards, nine scores and four picks. Pigrome has rotated in all season, but until the Indiana game, his production hadn’t been noticeably better or worse. True freshman Tyler DeSue has seen late action in two contests; he’s now Pigrome’s backup. Bortenschlager didn’t take an offensive snap this year, but had season-ending surgery in October. Henderson and Brand left the program with eligibility remaining, so the next options are walk-on freshmen Brian Clarkin and Brayden Hawkins.
Maryland’s last two games are against Ohio State and at Penn State.
Total starting QBs in last 12 years: 11 (plus backups Burns, Cockerille, Garman, Henderson, DeSue)
Average starting QBs per season: 2.25
Most starting QBs in a season: 4 (2017)
Updated QB ACL injury count: 7 in last 7 seasons (counting Hill and Rowe twice)
This story has been updated to include Brown’s broken collarbone in 2010 and Rowe’s second ACL injury in 2014.