Maryland football’s spring practice is complete, with the Terps holding their spring game Saturday afternoon. With over three months remaining before fall camp starts in August, let’s take a look at where things stand on the offensive side of the ball.
While the spring game team divisions—most of the first-team offense was on the Red Team—provided a decent sense of the starters and backups, this depth chart is still tricky because there were zero newcomers on the offensive side this spring. Potential starters at quarterback and tight end, plus a full recruiting class, will arrive in the summer. With one exception, this list doesn’t include freshmen who haven’t enrolled yet.
Without further ado, check out these educated guesstimations:
* denotes a player who wasn’t on campus for spring practice
1. Josh Jackson*
2. Tyrrell Pigrome
3. Lance LeGendre*
4. Max Bortenschlager
5. Tyler DeSue
Coming soon: Jackson, LeGendre
Injured and also in the transfer portal: Kasim Hill
Don’t put too much stock in this ranking, please. Two of the top three aren’t with the team yet, and the bottom two both looked reasonably good in the spring game. There’s probably not that much of a gap between Nos. 1 and 5 (for better and worse), and a lot can change in the four months between now and Week 1.
Pigrome is essentially the incumbent after starting the last two games in 2018, but he didn’t separate himself much from Bortenschlager in the spring; both took some first-team reps. Jackson, a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, is the presumed favorite, but he won’t arrive on campus until the summer. Neither will four-star freshman LeGendre (pronounced “Le-ZHON”), who committed to the Terps on Signing Day. And while DeSue won’t bring the experience of some or the upside of others, his MVP performance in the spring game shows he should be more than an afterthought.
1. Anthony McFarland
T2. Javon Leake
T2. Tayon Fleet-Davis
T2. Lorenzo Harrison III
5. Jake Funk
Harrison and Funk spent the spring rehabbing injuries, which allowed the three members of Maryland’s 2017 running back class to lead the way throughout camp and in the spring game. This is still Maryland’s most talented group, and its depth and star power should be on full display this season.
McFarland is the clear star, coming off a season in which he broke out late and finished with 1,034 yards. Leake is the speedster, leading Maryland with seven touchdowns last year in stunningly limited carries. Fleet-Davis is the bruiser of the bunch, but still brings an all-around game. Harrison is the slippery and elusive one. And Funk is still a rotation-caliber back when healthy. It’s been a close-knit group for years, and all signs point to a productive year.
1. Jeshaun Jones
2. Dontay Demus
Slot. DJ Turner
1. Darryl Jones
2. Brian Cobbs
Slot. Tahj Capehart
1. Carlos Carriere
2. Jayden Comma
Slot. Sean Nelson
Other options: MJ Jarrell, Chris Jones, Rayshad Lewis*
Coming soon: Isaiah Hazel, Dino Tomlin
*Lewis played defense last year, but practiced with the receivers in camp, but was also recovering from injury
Maryland added four wide receivers in its 2018 class, and all four turned heads as true freshmen last season. Jeshaun Jones and Demus are Maryland’s top returning receivers in terms of yardage, while Darryl Jones and Cobbs had strong performances late in the year. Turner, the lone senior scholarship wideout, has the edge in the slot over Capehart, who missed 2018 with an ACL injury.
Redshirt sophomores Carriere, Comma, Nelson and Jarrell have all struggled to make an impact in college, and while all showed some promising signs in camp, they’ll still all be competing with the true sophomores and incoming freshmen. Hazel is a four-star talent who could jump into the mix right away, and Tomlin (son of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin) was the No. 2 receiver in Pennsylvania in 2019.
It’s unclear if the coaches expect to move Lewis back to wideout, especially since they moved Sean Savoy to cornerback when he transferred in from Virginia Tech. It’s also possible there’s a transfer from the back end of this list, as Maryland is currently a couple scholarships over its limit of 85. We’ll see how things shake out in the coming months.
1. Chigoziem Okonkwo
2. Tyler Mabry*
3. Noah Barnes
4. Michael Cornwell
T5. Andrew Park
T5. Robert Schwob
7. Zack Roski
Coming soon: Mabry, Tyler Devera, Malik Jackson
In 2017, Maryland tight ends didn’t catch a pass (Cornwell caught one, but he was a wide receiver then). In 2018, the tandem of freshman Okonkwo and senior Avery Edwards totaled 10 catches, 82 yards and a touchdown. In Saturday’s spring game, tight ends combined for 17 receptions, 125 yards and four scores. Okonkwo had two touchdowns, while Cornwell and Schwob had one each. Cornwell made five catches and Barnes had one. Early signs point to a much more productive year at this position.
Okonkwo looks like a real receiving threat, and Mabry, a First Team All-MAC selection at Buffalo, will come to campus in the summer as a grad transfer with a more well-rounded game at the position. It’s anyone’s guess who steps up after that. Maybe Barnes or Park, neither of whom have a college reception, breaks through. Maybe Devera or Jakson makes an immediate impact. Cornwell, Schwob and Roski are all walk-ons, but the former is a fifth-year senior and the others are the two tallest members of the group.
LT. Jaelyn Duncan
LG. Sean Christie
C. Johnny Jordan
RG. Terrance Davis
RT. Marcus Minor
LT. TJ Bradley
LG. Austin Fontaine
C. Ellis McKennie
RG. Evan Gregory
RT. Tyran Hunt
Other options: Spencer Anderson, Tyler Hamilton, Jack Wagman
Coming soon: Mason Lunsford, Parris Heath, Marcus Finger
This group loses three regular starters: Steelers seventh-rounder Derwin Gray, 49ers signee Brendan Moore and Colts signee Damian Prince. But Christie and Davis have a combined 51 starts to their names, and Jordan and Minor have both seen time themselves. Duncan, the highest-rated member of Maryland’s 2018 class, impressed all spring
There aren’t a lot of known quantities further down the depth chart, although McKennie’s versatility has helped him earn time throughout his career. After Bradley suffered an injury in camp (he had surgery but should be healthy by fall practice), Fontaine switched sides of the ball, and offensive line coach John Reagan says he played with a lot more confidence after moving to offense. If I had to guess, I’d say he stays here.
None of the freshmen are obvious candidates to crack the two-deep immediately, but the opportunity is there. Then again, that’s true for pretty much any position group anywhere at this time of year. So much can change in the next few months. That’s the fun part.