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Lorenzo Harrison should remain a big part of Maryland’s rushing attack in 2018

After his numbers slipped during his sophomore year, Harrison will be looking to return to his freshman form.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Running Backs week at Testudo Times, as we continue looking through every Maryland football position group throughout the summer. After overviewing the position on Monday and taking a look at Ty Johnson yesterday, it’s time to look at the running back who’s most likely to be featured alongside Johnson this season.

Lorenzo Harrison, RB, No. 2

Height: 5’8
Weight: 195 pounds
Year: Junior
Hometown: Hillcrest Heights, Md.
High school: DeMatha

The background

Harrison was the first verbal commitment in Maryland’s Class of 2016, pledging to the Terps all the way back in September 2014. He played on three straight WCAC championship teams at local powerhouse DeMatha from 2013-2015 and was named First Team All-Met by The Washington Post as a senior.

Harrison made the most immediate impact of any player in the Class of 2016, and was on pace to break the school’s freshman rushing record before missing the last four games due to suspension. He wasn’t able to match that production as a sophomore, running for 622 yards and three touchdowns while seeing his yards per carry fall from 7.2 to 4.5.

Harrison struggled early last year, but improved late.

In the first six games of the 2017 season, Harrison struggled to make plays, running for 240 yards and averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. Once Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill went down, opponents started stacking the box to make Maryland one-dimensional, making it hard for Johnson to burst through the middle and Harrison to slip away from would-be tacklers.

But as Maryland struggled down the stretch, Harrison started to come around. He ran for at least 50 yards in each of the Terps’ last six games, averaging nearly 5.4 yards per carry and scoring all three of his 2017 touchdowns during that stretch.

After Johnson, Harrison is the most proven option.

Although Javon Leake and Jake Funk have both shown they can contribute in spurts, their 65 career carries combined are less than half of what Harrison had last season. He’s also a natural complement to Johnson, with his elusiveness and lateral quickness meshing nicely with Johnson’s downhill speed.

Like many members of Maryland’s backfield, it’s unclear how big of a role he will have in Matt Canada’s offense. Harrison will definitely get his fair share of carries, and his build and style of play make him a good fit to catch passes out of the backfield, something he hasn’t done a lot of his first two years at Maryland.