It’s Defensive Backs Week at Testudo Times. Our summer football preview series — which has already covered Maryland’s quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive linemen, defensive ends, defensive tackles and linebackers — is getting closer to completion. Our player profiles continue with a trio of young safeties.
Deon Jones, No. 14
Weight: 197 pounds
Year: RS freshman
Hometown: Oxon Hill, Maryland
Previous school: Potomac
Fofie Bazzie, No. 11
Weight: 201 pounds
Year: RS freshman
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Previous school: Quince Orchard
Raymond Boone, No. 21
Weight: 203 pounds
Hometown: Greenbelt, Maryland
Previous school: Eleanor Rosevelt
None of these guys have appeared in a game yet.
Deon Jones was Maryland’s highest-rated commit on defense in the Class of 2017, but he took a redshirt last season after suffering a knee injury in high school. Fofie Bazzie, a three-star recruit in that same class, also took a redshirt season in 2017. True freshman Ray Boone, a three-star recruit from the Class of 2018, entered the fold this summer and rounds out the group.
Maryland doesn’t need them to be major contributors in 2018.
Darnell Savage and Antoine Brooks are safely penciled in as Maryland’s starting safeties, with Antwaine Richardson and Qwuantrezz Knight there right behind them. That provides Jones, Bazzie and Boone a nice buffer. We don’t know too much about any of those three young guys yet, but as long as Jones and Bazzie are healthy, they’ll be in the rotation for valuable snaps in developmental seasons. Boone seems a likely candidate for a redshirt season, but we’ll see. The new redshirt rules mean he could still play a little bit.
The goal is to have these guys ready for 2019 and beyond, because they’ll be needed.
Savage is a senior, while Brooks, Richardson and Knight are juniors. That means in 2019, Maryland’s going to need at least one new starter at safety to complete a secondary that would include seniors Marcus Lewis and Tino Ellis, a linebacking corps that includes senior Isaiah Davis and a defensive line that could feature a few former blue-chip recruits who will be in their third seasons. DJ Durkin is a defensive coach, so that’ll be his best shot at getting some version of the defense he had at Michigan.
Anything Jones, Bazzie and Boone do this season is a bonus, but they’ll be needed before long.