The secondary is one of Maryland football’s deepest position groups heading into 2019, but the Terps will also face some of the best defensive backs in the country this season. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State stockpile elite talent at every position with excellent recruiting classes each year and the Terps will face some excellent players from other schools as well.
Maryland will face two of USA TODAY’s 10 best defensive backs this year and another included in its honorable mentions. Here are the best defensive backs on Maryland’s schedule.
Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse (Sept. 7)
According to USA TODAY, Cisco is the best defensive back Maryland will face in 2019 and the fourth-best in the country. The former three-star IMG Academy prospect blossomed into one of the best defensive players in the country in a record-breaking rookie year last season.
Cisco tied with Boston College’s Hamp Cheevers for the national lead with seven interceptions, becoming the first freshman since Wisconsin’s Jamar Fletcher in 1998 to do so and the first true freshman to accomplish the feat since Oregon’s George Shaw in 1951. Cisco’s 18 pass breakups also set a true freshman record, and he finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles. He was named the ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year, earned First Team All-ACC honors and made multiple All-American teams.
Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State (Nov. 9)
Fuller is the No. 9 defensive back in the country, according to USA TODAY, and tied for the team lead with 81 tackles last season. In 2017, he finished with 70 tackles, just one away from leading the Buckeyes. As a captain for Ohio State last season, Fuller recorded four tackles against Maryland.
This year, he’ll once again start at safety and will look to build on his Second Team All-Big Ten performance from last season.
Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan (Nov. 2)
Hill is entering his third year as a starting cornerback, and USA TODAY named him as an honorable mention for one of the top defensive backs in the country this season. He recorded 14 tackles and broke up six passes last year, as well as a 21-yard pick six against Wisconsin.
Hill was named a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press last season, and he was also an all-conference first-team selection by both the coaches and the media. He missed spring practice after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed injury and battled a lingering injury last year, but he’ll be looking to recover in time for the Wolverines season opener against Middle Tennessee State.
Dicaprio Bootle, CB, Nebraska (Nov. 30)
Bootle had a breakout sophomore year in Scott Frost’s first season back in Lincoln, posting 39 tackles and 15 pass breakups on his way to a third team All-Big Ten nod. He had the most pass breakups in the Big Ten last year, as well as the most by a Husker since former NFL defensive back Fabian Washington in 2004. Bootle was named the team’s Defensive Back of the Year for his performance and could be a repeat winner this year.
Michigan and Ohio State both have other standout defensive backs with Wolverine senior safety Josh Metellus being an All-Big Ten performer and Buckeyes junior cornerback Jeffrey Okudah looking like one of the top defensive back prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Michigan’s in-state rival, Michigan State, has two players in the secondary to watch as well. Senior safety David Dowell has started 23 straight games and is a two-time All-Big Ten selection, while junior cornerback Josiah Scott was a Freshman All-American in 2017 and made an immediate impact when he returned last year after missing the first eight games with a knee injury.