Coming out of high school, most recruiting analysts thought Maryland snagging Will Likely was a major coup. Because of concerns about his height as a corner, many upper tier schools passed over the Belle Glade, Florida native who played his high school ball in an area referred to as “Muck City.” Any taller and he’d be a five-star lock, they’d say; if he weighed a little more, he’s a very good player on an SEC school, easy. LSU, Miami, Purdue, Stanford, and Alabama all passed up on him.
At Maryland, though, the man is making a name for himself one game at a time. Likely, a fan favorite at Maryland for the versatility of his name as well has his impressive feats on the field, is now getting national recognition. Yesterday, Likely was named to the Athlon Sports Freshman All-America Team. Likely finds a spot on the third-team as a return specialist after his monster year at Maryland. His play this season has been nothing short of spectacular for the Terps, who have gotten strong results from their return game for the second year in a row.
Likely took over the kick and punt return duties from Stefon Diggs this season, and while there was a drop off, it wasn’t by much. Likely averaged 27 yards per kick return; that’s second in the ACC and 13th nationally. Last year, Diggs broke the previous Maryland record and set a new one at 28.52 yards per return; Likely finished up third all-time on Maryland’s kick return list.
Likely’s best game was undoubtedly against Virginia Tech, during Maryland’s 27-24 overtime victory. Likely returned a punt 63 yards in the second quarter for a touchdown, and accounted for106 punt return yards to go along with 73 yards on kick returns. On the year, Likely finished with 205 yards on punt returns, and 649 yards on kick returns. His 854 all purpose yards are second only to Stefon Diggs’ 912 yards over seven games. Likely also finished fifth on the team with 62 total tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for loss, and one interception.
With hope, he will likely produce for years to come.