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Josh Jackson will have to earn back his starting spot this season

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The senior is the lone upperclassman, but a poor 2019 campaign has reopened the quarterback competition.

Maryland v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/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, tight ends and running backs so far, and now we are reviewing the Terps’ quarterbacks. Wes gave an overview of the position yesterday, and today we’ll talk about Josh Jackson.

Josh Jackson

Height: 6’2
Weight: 218
Year: Senior
High School: Saline
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
2019 Stats: 94 Comp, 207 Att, 1,274 Yards, 12 TD, 6 Int
Career Stats (incl. 2 seasons at Virginia Tech): 366 Comp, 661 Att, 4,840 yds, 37 TD, 16 Int

The background

Jackson committed to Virginia Tech as a three-star recruit back in 2016. The Ann Arbor native received a good dose of Power Five offers, and after redshirting for his first season with the Hokies, he became their go-to option at quarterback.

In his first season at Virginia Tech, Jackson posted stellar numbers, many of which ranked as high as first in freshmen categories. A 59.6 percent completion rate earned him 2,991 yards passing with 20 touchdowns on 236 completions, the most of any freshman in a nation.

Perhaps the more impressive side of Jackson’s game as a Hokie was as a runner, where he reached the end zone six times over the span of his freshman campaign.

In his 2018 season, Jackson looked to continue his dominance under center, but a fractured left fibula sidelined him for the entire season in the third game. Prior to his premature ending, he had a career-high 62.07 percent completion rate with nearly 600 yards passing and five touchdowns.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Jackson entered the transfer portal in the winter following his sophomore season and chose Maryland soon after head coach Mike Locksley was hired.

In Jackson’s first season in College Park, he was named as the team’s starter prior to the first game, but failed to produce at the level that he did at Virginia Tech.

The junior passed for a career-low 47 percent completion rate and 12 touchdowns, five of which came within his first two games. Jackson also threw six interceptions in his 10 appearances, and was again sidelined due to injury in two of the team’s games.

Jackson is only quarterback with experience

Looking at Maryland’s depth chart, Jackson is the only player with real in-game experience. Redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre completed just one past last season, and transfer Taulia Tagovailoa played in just five games last season at Alabama.

In his first two games with the Terrapins, Jackson looked promising, leading the team to a dominant 79-0 win over Howard in his first game. Though his stats diminished as the season progressed, he remained Locksley’s most used option.

Maryland’s offense will lean towards passing as the main source of production this season, giving the senior much more firepower to work with compared to a dilapidated wide receiver core in his debut season. If Tagovailoa is deemed ineligible by the NCAA, Jackson will fight for the starting job against LeGendre.

There are looming concerns for the senior

After his first season at Maryland didn’t go as planned, Jackson has put himself in quite a hole. What should have been a certain starting role for the team in his senior season has now become a “what could’ve been” scenario.

Injuries followed the quarterback in the transfer portal as Jackson sat out two games last season with an ankle injury, keeping him immobile for his time on the field and causing him to sit in the pocket for long periods of time while defensive linemen racked up the sacks.

His 47.3 percent completion rate ranked second to last among the 110 FBS quarterbacks that had the qualifying number of passes. Poor decision making and a lack for much movement puts Jackson at a disadvantage at a position with young talent surging towards the starting 11.