We’re previewing Maryland football’s roster one position group at a time this summer. This week, we’re taking a look at the tight ends.
The Terps will rely on rising sophomore Chigoziem Okonkwo and grad transfer Tyler Mabry to help revive a position that’s seemed almost nonexistent for Maryland these last few seasons, while redshirt junior Noah Barnes’ balanced skill set. should be a reliable backup to either player. Now it’s time to look at a pair of true freshmen hoping to earn a role right away.
Malik Jackson, No. 86
Hometown: Fort Meade, Md.
High School: Meade HS
Tyler Devera, No. 87
Hometown: Wayne, N.J.
High School: Bergen Catholic
Both prospects joined the fold after Mike Locksley came to Maryland.
When Locksley arrived in December, Maryland had no tight ends committed in the 2019 class. That changed in short order, with Jackson committing and sending in his NLI during the December signing day. His addition came about as out of nowhere as could be; he had previously been committed to UConn, and a Maryland offer had not been publicly reported.
Devera, meanwile, emerged as a key target in January after Locksley returned from Alabama. He had pledged to Rutgers in June 2018 with plans to join older brother Brendan, then a linebacker for the Scarlet Knights, but decommitted a month later after the university dismissed Brendan for a violation of team rules. Tyler visited Louisville, Colorado and Maryland in January, ultimately committing to the Terps on Feb. 3 and signing three days later.
Both players were consensus three-star recruits; Devera was the nation’s No. 76 tight end prospect, while Jackson checked in at No. 87. Neither enrolled in the spring, although Jackson’s proximity to College Park allowed him to visit on occasion.
They’ll add depth to a promising position group.
This room isn’t as crowded as it was just a few weeks ago — senior walk-on Michael Cornwell left the program last month, while rising redshirt sophomore Andrew Park is no longer listed on the active roster. But Okonkwo and Mabry still look like the primary weapons here, with Barnes serving as a versatile addition to the rotation. And walk-ons Zack Roski (6’7) and Robert Schwob (6’5) both saw time in the spring game and have the size to be enticing options in certain situations.
Devera and Jackson will have plenty of ground to make up as they start fall camp in August. With the new redshirt rules, though, players can appear in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility. So as the season progresses, it’s easy to see one or both of these rookies playing their way into a role either on offense or on special teams. And with Mabry in his final college season, the freshmen hope to provide a glimpse of the future.