Linebackers Week is winding down here at Testudo Times. Our summer preview series has already tackled Maryland’s quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive ends and defensive tackles. Now we move on to a trio of newcomers that bring some youth to the room. (We’ll cover more of the youngsters tomorrow.)
Nihym Anderson, No. 40
Weight: 239 lbs.
Hometown: Vineland, New Jersey
High school: Vineland South
Jordan Mosley, No. 18
Weight: 203 lbs.
Hometown: Haverford, Pennsylvania
High school: Haverford
Fa’Najae Gotay, No. 23
Weight: 215 lbs.
Hometown: North Fort Myers, Florida
High school: North Fort Myers
The three all joined the Terps as half of six linebackers signed for the 2018 cycle, and all figure to play a slightly different role for Maryland this season.
Anderson was the first of this trio of three-stars to join, and the third commit overall for cycle. The Vineland, New Jersey, native gave his verbal commit just a day after quarterback Tyler DeSue in April 2017, and followed through with his signature during the early signing period.
Mosley would become the fourth linebacker to join the class, after playing both linebacker and safety, as well as wide receiver in high school. He had a county-high eight interceptions, while also reeling in 49 passes for 895 yards and 10 scores as a senior.
Gotay was the last of this group to join, and the second-to-last linebacker to join as a freshman. The Florida native joined the class a day before the early signing period got underway. He’s listed on the roster as an athlete, so it will be interesting see how his role evolves.
They all have a shot to see the field early.
Anderson profiles as a prototypical middle linebacker in head coach DJ Durkin’s base-nickel defense, like the role Isaiah Davis currently plays. He has the most college-ready frame of the three, but is currently outranked. Don’t be too surprised if he’s pushing for increased snaps before long.
Mosley is the lightest of the bunch and slots as an outside linebacker or a linebacker/safety hybrid in Durkin’s scheme. If he’s able to stick in coverage at the college level, he’ll be able to differentiate himself. He’ll see time this year, and could set himself up favorably to compete for a starting slot next season.
How Durkin utilizes Gotay should be interesting. He signed as an outside linebacker, but the coaching staff may have something more in mind. After excelling in a hybrid linebacker/safety role last season, Antoine Brooks Jr. may make the jump to full-time safety. Gotay could be in line for a similar role, as the only player listed as an athlete on the roster.
They all represent immediate depth, and the position’s future.
After graduating three seniors, the junior Davis is expected to earn a starting role next to graduate transfer Tre Watson in Durkin’s base 4-2-5 scheme. However, without a lot proven production behind them, there’s snaps to go around.
It would be an uphill battle for any of them to earn a starting slot, but they’ll figure into the snap count. How the staff mixes up the personnel packages should ultimately determine how many snaps each player gets. Thanks to the new redshirt rules, they’ll each have four games to prove their readiness for the college level.
Special teams is always the quickest way to see the field, but this trio should push the veterans in the room for playing time this season. After losing a wealth of experience at the position, Maryland replenished the cupboard with a group of athletes that could be contributors for the next couple seasons.