With five 1,000-yard rushers returning for the first time in conference history, there is no shortage of talent at running back in the ACC. It’s just been a while since anyone has seen it in action in College Park, where Maryland ranked 105th in the country in rushing offense last year.
Fifth-year senior Da’Rel Scott is hoping fall to change that this Fall and remind ACC fans he’s in the 1,000-yard club, too. Scott’s injury-plagued 2009 season coupled with the Terps’ 2-10 record didn’t exactly help his resume, but Scott will lead what is expected to be a strong running game this fall to help ease the pressure off of first-year starting quarterback Jamarr Robinson.
“I think I definitely want to separate myself,” Scott said. “… I just want to leave off from my redshirt sophomore year and go from that. It just made me stronger, getting hurt and everything.”
Scott, who played in only seven games last year after suffering a broken left wrist, said he thought he was “as good if not better than” the other 1,000-yard rushers in the ACC before he was injured, including Virginia Tech’s duo of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, and Boston College’s Montel Harris.
In an effort to distinguish himself from the pack this fall, Scott joined the Terps’ indoor track team and competed in the 60-yard dash with the hopes of improving his speed. It worked, as Scott set the school 40-yard dash record for running backs in spring testing with a 4.33.
“It definitely will help me a lot,” Scott said. “As the years went on I lost a little bit (of speed). I wasn’t doing the same workouts I was back in high school. I just felt like I needed to do something to get my speed back, so I could kind of be more explosive through the holes and everything.”
Scott started five games last fall and averaged 60.7 rushing yards. He could become the 10th back in school history to reach 2,000 career rushing yards. His 5.5 yards per carry is currently fourth in school history.
He has run for 1,693 yards, a 5.5 per-carry average and 12 touchdowns in his career. Despite missing half of the 2009 season, Scott is still fifth on the ACC career active rushers list.
“My main goal is to stay healthy, get strong in the weight room and everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “I didn’t have the season I wanted last year, but I felt as though I built from that and went from there and now I feel like I’ve got confidence back in me.”