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Maryland football’s running back room is much thinner heading into the 2020 season

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With only four players on scholarship, the Terps’ group of running back looks a lot different.

Maryland v Minnesota Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Our summer profile series is back and we’re previewing Maryland football one position group at a time.

We’ve gone over wide receivers and tight ends so far, and now it’s time to move on to the Terps’ running backs.

Maryland’s 2020 scholarship quarterbacks

Player Year 2019
Player Year 2019
Josh Jackson SR 94 Comp, 207 Att, 1,274 Yards, 12 TD, 6 Int
Taulia Tagovailoa SO 9 Comp, 12 Att, 100 Yards, 1 TD (5 Games at Alabama)
Lance LeGendre R-FR 1 Comp, 3 Att, 7 Yards, 13 rush, 104 yards (3 Games)

The position has much less depth than recent years

As noted in our overview of the wide receiver group, the running back room is quite depleted compared to recent years for Maryland.

The team does not have more than two running backs on scholarship with playing experience for the first time since 2007. But even back then, the team had much more players on scholarship at the position — there are only four heading into 2020.

There also isn’t a dominant guy at the position as there has been in recent years. Going into last season, it was Anthony McFarland Jr. The few years before that, it was Ty Johnson. Funk and Fleet-Davis certainly have name recognition within the Maryland fanbase, but neither has tallied over 325 yards in a single season.

With that being said, someone in this room is going to be tasked with stepping up to the plate as the lead back — though there should be more distribution than recent years. At the moment, while Funk and Fleet-Davis have a slight edge, it seems unclear as to who that will be, especially given the fact that the media hasn’t been able to attend any workouts due to COVID-19. Normally by this time, we would’ve got a pretty good idea of where things stand through spring practice.

The freshmen will have a chance to make an impact early

While Funk and Fleet-Davis have the most experience of anyone in the running back room, it’s important to note that neither has seen the field since November. For Funk, who has dealt with two ACL tears in two years, it’s been since September.

Getting back into the swing of things after two severe injuries and a lack of team practice over the summer can’t be expected to be a fast process for Funk. Neither him or Fleet-Davis have ever been required to carry the team at the position, and Maryland has also used an arsenal of backs, so expect the freshmen to play a big role.

Both Peny Boone and Isaiah Jacobs are intriguing options coming in as freshmen. Boone was the third-highest ranked commit of the 2020 class and the No. 26 running back in the country, per the 24/7 Sports Composite, out of Detroit. At 6’1, 225 pounds, he’s definitely more of a big back that can bully his way past defenders.

Jacobs, who was ranked as the No. 35 running back in the country, per the 24/7 Sports Composite. He already has familiarity with Locksley, as his brother, Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, played for him at Alabama.

More walk-ons have been added at the position

In addition to the four players on scholarship, Maryland has four walk-ons at the position — several of which were very recently added to the online roster.

Both Jordan Castleberry and Challen Faamatau join the Terps as preferred walk-ons.

Castleberry, a redshirt freshman, spent last season at Michigan. He’s from Lakewood, Ohio, where he attended St. Edwards High School. He led the Eagles to a state championship in 2018, rushing for 1,543 yards and 20 touchdowns that season.

Faamatau is continuing the Hawaii to Maryland pipeline. Orginally from Kalihi, Hawaii, he enters as a junior after playing for Coffeyville Community College, where he tallied 575 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He is a family friend of quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, so there should be some instant chemistry there.

Rashard Jackson and Jonathan Smith are the newest additions to the roster, and both are local guys. Jackson is from Leanardtown, Maryland, and went to St. Mary’s Ryken in the WCAC in high school. Most recently, he helped Lackawanna College to conference championships in 2018 and 2019. Smith is from Owings Mills, Maryland, where he attended Franklin High School. In his junior and senior seasons, Smith tallied 690 yards and seven touchdowns on 110 carries.