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Maryland football spring positional preview: Levern Jacobs leads wide receiver corps that struggled in 2015

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Jacobs is the elder member of a group that has something to prove.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland football program is eligible to start spring practices under DJ Durkin on March 8. Over the next few days, we'll be previewing where the Terps stack up at every position heading into the offseason's regular season.

The players

Returning starters: Levern Jacobs, D.J. Moore, Taivon Jacobs

Other contributors: Malcolm Culmer, Amba Etta-Tawo, DeAndre Lane, Jahrvis Davenport

Coming off redshirts: None

Incoming freshmen: Tino Ellis, D.J. Turner

Incoming transfers: None

The overview

Maryland's wide receivers didn't produce in 2015, but extremely horrible quarterback play made it impossible to fairly evaluate the unit. After an already inexperienced group lost Juwann Winfree and Marcus Leak, freshman D.J. Moore had himself a surprising debut season, starting the most games of any wideout. He didn't get a crazy amount of touches, but a good part of that can be chalked up to the fact that the quarterbacks struggled to get him the ball. Turner finished the season averaging 14 yards per catch on 25 receptions, and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns.

Brothers Levern and Taivon Jacobs are the team's next-best options outside. Both are talented, and the younger Taivon was headed to Ohio State before flipping to the Terps. The elder Levern was Maryland's most productive receiver, finishing the season averaging 12.1 yards per reception on 35 catches, with three scores. In the fall, the unit will get possibly Maryland's most ready-to-play freshman in Tino Ellis. The DeMatha receiver was an Under Armour All-American, and should pair with Turner to provide an effective pairing for years to come, providing of course that the Terps have a quarterback who can get them the ball.

Position battles

Not many.

Turner and the Jacobs brothers seem to have the three starting spots pretty locked up, at least for spring ball. Ellis won't be on campus until August, so the main battle here will be between Malcolm Culmer, Amba Etta-Tawo, DeAndre Lane and Jahrvis Davenport for the next two backup spots.

Key question

Will Levern Jacobs take command?

2016 will be his second straight year as Maryland's oldest receiver, and his final chance to have a productive season. Heck, he has a puncher's chance at catching the eyes of NFL scouts. The Terps will need a reliable target next season, and Jacobs is the only guy with experience.

Breakout player

Taivon Jacobs

The younger Jacobs brother showed flashes last season as a redshirt sophomore, but like the rest of the unit, got limited opportunities to make plays. He's got enough speed to make plays deep, and could wreak havoc on screens in Walt Bell's offense.

Depth chart projection

1st unit Levern Jacobs D.J. Moore Taivon Jacobs
2nd unit Amba Etta-Tawo Malcolm Culmer Jahrvis Davenport DeAndre Lane