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Darnell Savage returns to Maryland’s defensive backfield as the senior leader

The former cornerback returns for his third year as a starting safety.

Maryland v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s Defensive Backs Week here at Testudo Times. Our summer preview series has gone through Maryland’s quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive ends, defensive tackles and linebackers. Let’s keep it moving with the most senior starter in the secondary.

Darnell Savage Jr., DB, No. 4

Height: 5’10
Weight: 200 lbs.
Year: Senior
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
High school: Caravel Academy

The background

A two-way star in high school, Savage rushed for 1,298 yards and 13 touchdowns and totaled 54 tackles on the other side of the ball. He’d sign with the Terps as a three-star cornerback recruit in the 2015 class.

He made 10 appearances and a start at the position his freshman year, before transitioning to the free safety role and blossoming. He’d start every game in 2016 and finish third in tackles his sophomore year, with 59 to go along with 3.5 tackles for a loss and an interception.

He was a consistent presence for Maryland in 2017.

Savage switched to No. 4, previously worn by his former teammate and mentor Will Likely, last offseason and made the number proud. Watching him take a pick-six 75 yards to the house against Towson, it was easy to squint and see Likely.

He’d finish 2017 with 59 tackles, just like the year prior, but added a team-high eight pass breakups and tied the team-high with three interceptions. Savage was also a major factor in Maryland’s Homecoming comeback win over Indiana. Down 14, he snagged an interception and also blocked a punt and returned it 16 yards for his second touchdown of the season.

Savage returns to the field as the senior leader of the group.

Now, Savage will enter 2018 as the most senior voice in the defensive backs’ room, as Likely once was. There’s no reason to believe that he’ll be less efficient on the field as a senior; it’s just a matter of playing the games.

He’ll be pushed for safety snaps by fellow veterans in Qwuantrezz Knight and Antwaine Richardson, and freshman Raymond Boone. However, he’s clearly the leading voice in the room and, barring injury, should start every game for the third straight season. Coming off a year where the defensive back room was such a strength, the onus will fall on Savage to keep the safeties up to snuff.