Monday, April 30, 2012
Most Important Player: Maryland
By Matt Fortuna
Our series continues today with the Terrapins, who are looking to rebound from a rocky 2-10 season in Year 1 of the Randy Edsall era.
For a complete recap of the series, click here.
Maryland: LB Kenny Tate
2011 stats: One of four team captains last season, Tate's campaign was cut short after just four games because of season-ending knee surgery. He recorded 35 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble.
What he means to the Terrapins: Say what you want about the offense, which has just one quarterback with any experience and was outplayed in Maryland's spring game, but the Terps' recovery will start on the other side of the ball. Maryland finished 108th nationally in total defense last season, and it was 111th against the run. New coordinator Brian Stewart's 3-4 system should help fix that, and a healthy Tate could ease the transition. Tate sat out this spring but was granted a medical hardship waiver and will be back for a fifth season this fall. He played safety for three years before 2011, and his 2010 campaign (100 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three picks) earned him All-ACC honors as a junior. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder moved to linebacker last season and has 21 total starts at Maryland, notching 197 tackles, seven picks and five forced fumbles in 40 career games. Linebacker and captain Demetrius Hartsfield led the charge in the spring game for the defense -- which was also missing All-ACC end Joe Vellano (foot) -- and the health of the unit could play a big role in Maryland's climb out of the cellar of the ACC.