Yesterday Athlon Sports released a comprehensive list of their potential breakout players for the Big Ten, and on that list? Maryland’s very own Wes Brown, their sophomore running back who missed all of last season because of a university imposed sanction under dubious circumstances. But apparently his performances during his true freshman season with the Terps had a lasting impression. Per the site:
He sat out 2013 due to a suspension, but ranked as a four-star recruit in the 2012 247Sports Composite. Brown rushed for 382 yards and two scores as a true freshman and adds speed to the Terrapins’ backfield. A committee approach at running back in College Park seems likely, but Brown will be a key piece of coordinator Mike Locksley’s offense.
Brown averaged 72.8 yards per game in October of his freshman year before he unfortunately went down with an injury, and even though he missed the entirety of last year, there is no starter. Brown has done enough to at least give the coaching staff pause before giving Brandon Ross the starting job on day one. But supplanting Ross is going to be difficult for him, given that Ross has done nothing but improve every year despite not being very explosive. Hard to fault a guy for that.
This does speak to Brown’s talent level, however. He was rated as a top ten running back in the country by 247Sports, and if he’s even a shade of his former self, is more versatile than any of the other backs on the roster. Since Maryland’s weakest aspect of their offense is at the RB spot, maybe there’s more to this than initially anticipated. Still, this may just be a shot in the dark by Athlon here.
A more likely candidate for breakout player could have been Derwin Gray or Damian Prince (the latter was actually listed). Prince and Gray stand a great chance of starting right away for the Terps and have loads of talent between the two of them to help bolster a weak offensive line game. Even Jesse Aniebonam (cousin of Osi Umenyiora and top ten defensive end nationally), who has two proven defensive ends in front of him on the depth chart, is a more probable candidate for a breakout guy. Aniebonam has some high billing and while Maryland may choose to redshirt him, they’re paper thin at the end spots and may employ him in special packages there despite him being listed as an outside linebacker.
All that said, it’s a good sign for Brown; he can elicit that type of confidence in people despite all that time off.