It’s running Backs week here at Testudo Times, as we continue our positional journey through Maryland football’s roster. We’ve looked at four of Maryland’s talented backs so far, but now it’s time to look at the young guns that make this backfield one of the deepest in the Big Ten.
Javon Leake, RB, No. 1
Weight: 200 lbs.
Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
High school: Page HS
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, No. 33
Weight: 231 lbs.
Year: RS freshman
Hometown: Oxon Hill, Maryland
High school: Potomac School
Both players committed to Maryland on July 30, 2016, with Fleet-Davis pledging in the morning and Leake joining the party in the evening. Both were three-star recruits at the time, although Leake added a fourth star on some services by the end of the cycle. They were the only backs in the class until high four-star prospect Anthony McFarland committed in late January 2017.
Leake was the only back from his class to see game action in 2017. He appeared in nine games, and while the more experienced rushers received far more carries, the rookie made his presence felt both on offense and special teams. Fleet-Davis redshirted, giving him four years of eligibility starting this fall.
The feature backs are all still on board, but both Leake and Fleet-Davis have too much talent to keep on the sidelines all year.
These backs will set themselves apart with speed and size.
Leake displayed breakaway abilities last season—he ripped off rushing touchdowns of 61 and 20 yards, and returned a kickoff 82 yards against Indiana. He finished his freshman campaign with 99 yards on just nine carries. Leake also broke loose for a 37-yard score in Maryland’s spring game (pictured above) and finished that afternoon with 47.
Fleet-Davis was listed at 210 pounds at this time last year, but has since bulked up to 230. That makes him a strong candidate to be used in short-yardage situations, or to line up as a fullback when Matt Canada uses one. That’s not a position that really existed in Walt Bell’s offense, but should make occasional appearances this season. Fleet-Davis can become much more than just a bruiser as his career continues, but his size will be his ticket to the field in 2018.