Maryland cornerback Will Likely is coming back to College Park for his senior season, he announced on Twitter Friday.
I’m excited to announce that I will be returning to Maryland for my senior season.— William Likely III (@4GoLive) January 8, 2016
After defensive linemen Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson both opted for the NFL a year early, Likely's return is a big one for the Terrapins. His three fellow starters in the defensive backfield all exhausted their eligibility in 2015, and losing Likely would have meant that Head Coach DJ Durkin and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim would have had to build a new secondary almost from scratch.
A three-star recruit out of Belle Glade, Florida, Likely made the All-Big Ten First Team in each of the last two years after impressing everyone in limited playing time as a freshman. While he didn't record an interception as a junior in 2015, he was still the team's unquestioned best defensive back, and opposing quarterbacks largely avoided his side of the field. He finished the season with 44 tackles, 11 passes broken up and 3 forced fumbles, and was named the inaugural Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year, given to the conference's top kick returner.
He broke a 76-year-old Big Ten record with 233 return yards in Maryland's 2015 season opener against Richmond, and was an explosive return man from the second he got to College Park. Maryland even used him on offense this season, and Likely finished the year with 93 rushing yards on 11 attempts, and 17 receiving yards on 5 catches.
In three seasons, Likely has 10 return touchdowns: 4 on punts, 2 on kickoffs, and 2 on interceptions.
He shared some of his thoughts, which were also included in this release, on Twitter.
First and foremost to earn my degree. Secondly, I want to finish off what I started with my teammates.— William Likely III (@4GoLive) January 8, 2016
We believe in the direction of this program and know that the future is bright.— William Likely III (@4GoLive) January 8, 2016