Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, the ACC's 2010 Rookie of the Year, has decided to transfer, the school announced on Monday.
O'Brien, as well as starting left tackle Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson, were granted their releases. Yet, of the 24 players with eligibility remaining who have decided to leave since coach Randy Edsall was hired last January, none of their departures will resonate quite like O'Brien's.
Without him, the Terps only have one other experienced quarterback on the roster in junior C.J. Brown.
"I'm disappointed by Danny's decision," Edsall said in a statement. "Danny told me that he's not committed to our program, that he's not 'all in.' I want what's best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well."
The decision is not a surprise, as O'Brien was benched last year in favor of Brown and would have entered spring ball in a competition to regain his starting job. He would have been limited, though, because he is still recovering from a broken bone in his non-throwing arm that he suffered in a Nov. 12 loss to Notre Dame.
Speculation about O'Brien's future began before the Terps' abysmal (2-10) 2011 season ended, but last Wednesday O'Brien tweeted, "Contrary to rumor, I am still a Terp."
O'Brien has two years of eligibility remaining. He played in nine games (seven starts) last season and completed 150 of 266 passes for 1,648 yards, with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He had 4,086 passing yards during his two years, but struggled under first-year offensive coordinator Gary Crowton last season. Crowton has since been fired and replaced by Mike Locksley, who said last week that O'Brien had not spoken with him about the possibility of transferring.
O'Brien is the 12th player to leave the program since the season ended. Garcia, a sophomore, started all 12 games at left tackle this season after playing in just two games as a true freshman in 2010.
"Max showed great promise," Edsall said in the release. "But after two seasons in College Park, Max is still homesick. He wants to transfer to a school closer to home (Norcross, Ga.) so his family can see him play."
Rowson played in 11 games, including four starts, as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He had 27 tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack.
"Mario wants to play defensive back. Trouble is, we see Mario as a linebacker," Edsall said. "I wish Mario well, whereever he decides to play.
"Our primary mission is making our players the best students, the best athletes, and the best individuals they can be," Edsall said. "Spring practice opens March 10. All of the coaches and players are counting the days until we get back on the field. We have a lot to prove in 2012."
Heather Dinich covers ACC football for ESPN.com.