With the first game of the 2014 season just days away, Maryland coach Randy Edsall released the two-deep depth chart in anticipation of the James Madison game on Saturday.
Here’s the depth chart if you haven’t it yet. I’ll analyze the current state below.
Let’s start off on the offensive side of the football.
The running back is the first position that has a little bit of intrigue to it. Junior Brandon Ross is the starter, which isn’t much of a surprise. However, reinstated back Wes Brown is left off the depth chart.
Perhaps Edsall is making Brown earn his way back into the rotation. However, Brown is a strong asset in the backfield, and should see his fair share of carries this season. In an injury-shortened 2012 campaign, the Baltimore native carried the rock 90 times for a grand total of 382 yards (4.2 yards-per-carry) and two touchdowns. In four of his seven games, Brown received double-digit carries, and eclipsed the 70-yard mark in three of those four contests. It should only be a matter of time before Brown makes his presence known.
The wide receivers and tight ends are also an interesting area. Despite details being released about being involved in a second-degree assault, Levern Jacobs is listed alongside Stefon Diggs and Deon Long as Maryland’s starting wideouts. Jacobs did lead the Terrapins with 40 catches, and picked up the slack when Diggs and Long were lost for the season. He’ll likely stay there until this legal matter is resolved.
The tight end position is one of vast uncertainty heading into the 2014 season. Dave Stinebaugh was a serviceable tight end last season, but he has graduated. Sophomore Andrew Issacs currently stands atop the depth chart, and his upside is through the roof. The former four-star recruit has a boatload of athleticism, and could surprise some folks this year. Derrick Hayward is right behind him after a strong training camp, and should play a decent amount.
The offensive line is about what we expected. Highly-touted recruit Derwin Gray will back up Ryan Doyle at right tackle to begin the season. Among the most shocking of revelations, is the fact that five-star hometown talent Damian Prince is completely absent from the depth chart. Obviously, most freshmen don’t start from day one, so maybe it’s not a huge surprise. Prince will get plenty of playing time as the season goes on.
The defense doesn’t have too many surprises.
The front seven has the usual suspects, and should be relatively unchanged throughout the season.
The cornerback spot is interesting due to the fact that Alvin Hill is starting opposite William Likely. Jeremiah Johnson is listed behind Likely, which is alarming. Johnson is either not having a good camp, or perhaps is still battling injury. This will be a position to watch throughout the season with JUCO transfer Denzel Conyers figures to be in the rotation as well, along with Jarrett Ross.
Obviously, this is the opening week and, anything can change once the first game is in the books. For the most part, it’s not a surprising depth chart. After the James Madison game, we’ll have a better grip onto just how strong this roster is.