The Big 33 Classic is one of the most heralded high school football all-star games along the East Coast. For the last 12 years, the game pitted two teams that were made up of players from Pennsylvania and Ohio. However in October 2012, it was announced that Maryland would replace Ohio in the annual contest. This was the first time that Maryland had appeared in the game since 1992. Maryland played the Keystone State from 1985 to 1992 before making their way back into the battle on Saturday evening.
The Terrapins had several 2013 commits playing in the contest and most made a remarkable impact. In terms of the final score, the Maryland squad didn’t have a great night as they lost 58-27.
Gilman quarterback Shane Cockerille, one of Maryland’s top recruits, took the majority of the snaps for the Maryland squad. Rhode Island commit Luke Casey also took some snaps for Maryland. Cockerille definitely was the star on this night in Hershey. The future Terps signal caller took a few series to get going, but ended up tossing a late touchdown toss to get Maryland on the board. The Gilman product throws a pretty ball and puts great touch on the ball, putting it right where it needs to be. He really got going in the second quarter as he led Maryland on three scoring drives to cut the deficit to 30-20 before Pennsylvania added a late touchdown courtesy of some trickery.
Cockerille ran the ball a few times and showed his strength and size with his running ability. He was not afraid to run straight up the middle and take on defenders head-on. Cockerille did rush for a touchdown late in the second half. His running ability allowed him to extend plays on several different occasions. As good as Cockerille looked, he does have a tough road ahead of him once he arrives in College Park. The Terps currently have quarterbacks C.J. Brown, Ricardo Young, Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe, and Dustin Dailey on the roster entering this spring. And no I didn’t forget to mention Shawn Petty. In addition to all that depth, St. John’s signal caller Will Ulmer will be a Terp in 2014. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Cockerille redshirt in 2013 or even switch positions at some point in his collegiate career. If the Gilman product does redshirt, it will save him a year of eligibility and allow more time to work with Mike Locksley on perfecting his craft. If he works at it, Cockerille has the ability to be a good college quarterback.
Another Terp that was mighty impressive in the Big 33 Classic was wide receiver DeAndre Lane. Lane was a star running back at Catonsville High School but could line up at running back or receiver for Maryland. Lane lined up as a wide receiver on Saturday and showed that he has some real talent. The two-star local recruit posted some pretty stellar numbers as he had a game-high 122 receiving yards. Lane was able to get open very frequently and showed off some nifty moves after the catch. The Catonsville product seemed to develop a nice repoire with Cockerille and Cockerille looked his way several times. Lane definitely had most of his success with Cockerille tossing the pigskin.
Obviously there is a ton of depth at the wide receiver position at Maryland. Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Nigel King, and Taivon Jacobs will be lining up at wide receiver for the Terps in 2013. Marcus Leak won’t be on the team this season but will return in 2014. However, Lane can still make a significant impact in his freshman campaign. Lane did a solid job of returning kickoffs (a little bit better job than Jacquille Veii) in the Big 33 Classic and certainly has the speed to get to that next level. In time, Lane can be an effective slot receiver. He isn’t the biggest guy in the world but the speed does help make for that deficiency. He may not see a ton of time at the position but will likely be battling with Jacobs for playing time as a freshman.
After this spectacular showing in Hershey, it just further substantiates the fact that Maryland’s 2013 class is very talented. With guys like Cockerille and Lane joining the likes of Derwin Gray, Kingsley Opara, and Yannick Ngakoue, the sky is the limit for this group. The talent is spread across the depth chart. Some guys will contribute from day one while others will strictly provide depth at first. Despite harsh criticism throughout his first two years in College Park, Randy Edsall is showing why he belongs and is getting it done on the recruiting front. This just may be the year that Maryland finally gets it done on the field.