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Maryland’s youngest defensive ends will all be looking to break through in 2018

Two redshirt freshmen and a true freshmen will all be competing with one another for a rotation spot.

Lawtez Rogers
Here’s Lawtez Rogers laughing during spring practice.
Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

It’s time to wrap up Defensive Ends Week at Testudo Times. We’re now through five weeks in our summer football preview series, which has already covered quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and the offensive line. This week closes with a look at some of the youngest members of the Terps’ defensive front.

B’Ahmad Miller, No. 90

Height: 6’2
Weight: 276 lbs.
Year: Redshirt freshman
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
High school: St. Frances Academy

Lawtez Rogers, No. 95

Height: 6’4
Weight: 274 lbs.
Year: Redshirt freshman
Hometown: Greenbelt, Maryland
High school: Eleanor Roosevel

Tyler Baylor

Height: 6’4
Weight: 220 lbs.
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Olney, Maryland
High school: Good Counsel

The background

Miller and Rogers, both low three-star recruits, were somewhat late additions to Maryland’s 2017 class. The former committed on Oct. 2, while the latter pledged on Dec. 1. It’s worth noting here if anywhere that the Terps held a commitment for over seven months from five-star prospect Joshua Kaindoh, who reopened his recruitment on Nov. 28—a not-so-coincidental three days before Rogers joined the class—and ultimately enrolled at Florida State.

Neither produced as freshmen, though. Maryland’s defensive line was filled with upperclassmen in 2017, which is why all five freshmen who were recruited to play up front redshirted. It didn’t help Miller’s case that he started camp injured, but it was unlikely either he or Rogers would have cracked last year’s rotation, especially with the more restrictive redshirt rules (players can now see time in any four games before losing eligibility).

Baylor, the grandson of NBA great Elgin Baylor, was a high three-star prospect who committed to Maryland in August 2017. He was the only high school defensive end in the Terps’ 2018 recruiting class (Byron Cowart was a JuCo transfer who counted toward class rankings). Baylor enrolled in the summer.

There are still veterans ahead of these guys, but playing time is definitely available.

The lineup obviously isn’t set in stone yet, but Cowart and Jesse Aniebonam have long had the inside track to start assuming both are healthy. Sophomore Bryce Brand is squarely in the mix at BUCK—the hybrid end-linebacker spot that’s been used primarily as a pass rusher in this scheme—while redshirt senior Brett Kulka is coming off a 30-tackle season. Some players covered next week might kick outside as well, but those four appear to be the primary obstacles.

Rogers and Miller have gained 18 and 12 pounds since enrolling, respectively, and both fit the physical profile of a college defensive end. It seems reasonable to expect them to spend fall practice battling Kulka and each other for rotational snaps behind Cowart. While Rogers has the advantage of being healthy enough to practice last season, it’s hard to say how much of a gap that opened up or how close it is right now. We’ll find out in August.

Baylor’s recruiting profile lists him at just 220 pounds, a number that’ll need a sizable increase before he joins a Big Ten starting defensive line. It’s unclear whether the staff intends to line him up at defensive end or at BUCK. Maryland presumably won’t need him to play significant snaps at either spot this fall, but he’s got a bright future with the program.