As part of our Maryland football summer preview series this summer, we’ve looked at quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and offensive linemen, defensive linemen and linebackers. This week, our focus turns to defensive backs. We gave an overview of the position and analyzed Antoine Brooks Jr. on Monday, and we broke down Tino Ellis and Marcus Lewis on Tuesday.
Today, we’ll turn to the free safety position, which has opened up for the Terps after Antwaine Richardson suffered a torn ACL this spring. Deon Jones and Jordan Mosley are two potential starters for Maryland at the position.
Deon Jones, No. 14
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Hometown: Oxon Hill, Md.
High school: Potomac HS
Jones was a consensus four-star recruit out of high school, ranked as the 14th-best cornerback in his class by ESPN and Rivals. In his junior season at Archbishop Carroll High School, he earned All-WCAC honors and received offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Penn State. He later transferred to Potomac High School for his senior season. Despite the high-level offers, Jones opted to stay at home and committed to Maryland in July 2016.
Jones missed his high school senior season due to injury and took a redshirt in his first year of college. He returned to the field and appeared in eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2018, totaling 17 combined tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. Jones showed a lot of potential against Iowa last season, tallying five tackles, which included a tackle for loss.
Jordan Mosley, No. 18
Hometown: Haverton, Pa.
High school: Haverford
Mosley played on both sides of the ball in high school, splitting time between wide receiver, outside linebacker and safety. He was a consensus three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 27 player in Pennsylvania by the 247Sports Composite. Mosley, whose father played football at Villanova, received offers from Minnesota, Rutgers and Temple, but committed to the Terps in July 2017. (His brother Shane joined Maryland’s 2020 class last month.)
Mosley had an impressive freshman season despite limited playing time. He appeared in 10 games and totaled 29 tackles (18 solo, 11 assisted). He had at least two tackles in all but two games he played in last season, particularly showing out against Penn State with a career-high six solo tackles.
They’ll be competing for the starting spot.
With Antoine Brooks Jr. locked in at the strong safety position, Jones and Mosley are the two guys likely competing for the starting free safety spot. Richardson was expected to start there for the second straight season, but the Terps will need a new guy to step up following his ACL tear.
Looking at last year’s stats, Mosley has proven himself more in his early college opportunities. Mosley also has an ideal build for the position and he showed interception ability in high school, picking off a county-high eight passes as a senior. But Jones has plenty of upside in his own right, as he was the top defensive recruit in Maryland’s 2017 class.
Regardless of who ultimately starts, both look to see a decent amount of time on the field this season.