Thursday, June 27, 2013
Weak and strong: Maryland
By Andrea Adelson
We move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest positions on each team in the ACC with Maryland:
Strongest position: Receiver
Stefon Diggs returns to anchor a position that remains a strength despite the loss of Marcus Leak, who decided to leave the team for personal reasons. Diggs was dynamic in his first year last season, earning Freshman All-America honors. His 848 receiving yards were the third-best mark by an ACC rookie and his 54 receptions ranked sixth-best. Of course, Diggs provides so much more as an all-purpose player, but he will be the unquestioned leader of this group as a sophomore. The Terps got a big boost to the group with Deon Long arriving from junior college, and Nigel King had a good spring as well. Hopes also are high for young guys like Levern Jacobs, Tyrek Cheeseboro and Amba Etta to step up as well.
Weakest position: Defensive line
Maryland only returns one starter here -- Darius Kilgo at nose tackle. The other two losses are perhaps the biggest on the defense -- Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, two players proven to be invaluable for the Terps over the past several seasons not only as players but as team leaders as well. Vellano was an all-ACC selection once again after leading the team with 14 tackles for loss and tying for the team lead with six sacks. Francis added nine tackles for loss and four sacks. The two combined for 72 career starts. Without them, Maryland turns to guys like Quinton Jefferson, Keith Bowers, Andre Monroe and Roman Braglio. Monroe is the only one who has started a game. If he is completely healthy following an injury that cost him all of last season, the Terps will benefit in a big way.
For more in the series, click here.