It’s Receivers Week here at Testudo Times, as we keep rolling through the position groups on Maryland football’s roster. We’ve already touched on the Terps’ most experienced receiver. Now it’s time to look at the veteran group he’ll lead into 2018.
DJ Turner, No. 10
Weight: 200 lbs.
Hometown: Glenarden, Maryland
High school: DeMatha
Jahrvis Davenport, No. 9
Weight: 194 lbs.
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
High school: Robinson
Turner was an explosive athlete in high school. He was one of the most dangerous receivers in the WCAC with the ball in his hands and could compete against anybody despite his size. He suffered a gruesome leg injury early in his senior season, but still joined three of his DeMatha teammates—Tino Ellis, Terrance Davis and Lorenzo Harrison—in the Terps’ Class of 2016.
Turner has yet to break out in College Park, but seems like the leading candidate of the receiving corps to take advantage of the new offensive system.
Davenport was a star in his own right at Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida, as a two-time first-team All-Western Conference selection. His first collegiate reception was a touchdown against West Virginia during his freshman season, but that remains his only score to date. Davenport was the Terps’ third-leading receiver last season, though that still put him significantly behind DJ Moore and Taivon Jacobs.
Even without a ton of production, Davenport seems to be the favorite to be the No. 2 receiver heading into fall camp.
The duo’s experience gives them the upper hand for now.
Their veteran status makes Turner and Davenport the favorites to be the starting slot and No. 2 receivers, respectively, at the start of the season. As always though, there will be competition in practice on DJ Durkin’s squad, and the large group of young, unproven receivers will test each of these two individually.
Until somebody (or somebodies) from that young group proves their worth, these spots should be Turner’s and Davenport’s to lose, even if for no other reason than they’ve each played in more games than most of the other receivers not named Taivon Jacobs combined.
A new offensive scheme could serve them well.
Walt Bell’s offense tended to place a premium on putting physical receivers who were willing to block on the field. That’s not to say these guys weren’t willing, nor that Matt Canada’s offense won’t also require them to block. But Canada’s offense does seem more geared toward getting its best athletes in space. This bodes well for Turner in particular, who could make a killing off yards after the catch.
Two other veterans should provide leadership, too.
They have one career reception between the two of them, but seniors Michael Cornwell and Chris Jones are old heads in the receivers room too. Cornwell is a walk-on out of McDonogh High School while Jones is a former high three-star recruit out of DeMatha.
Jones started his career at Wisconsin—where now-Maryland receivers coach Chris Beatty held the same position—before transferring to Iowa Western Community College and back home to College Park in the summer of 2016. Injuries have since plagued his time with the Terps and he has yet to see the field. Neither is expected to be a major contributor, but their reps and knowledge are valuable at the very least.