Spring Roster Updates – Tate Moves to Linebacker???

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A H/T to Testudo Times for this – Maryland updated their spring football rosters, and there are some (major) surprises. First, the list, and then naturally commentary. We are a blog, after all.

Devin Burns moves from QB to WR
Maurice Hampton moves from DL to OL
Desmond Kearse moves from S to LB
David Mackall moves from MLB to DE
Mario Rowson moves from CB to LB
Kenny Tate moves from FS to LB
Jeremiah Wilson moves from DB to WR

Let’s start from the top and move our way down. Burns is a move we knew about and already covered, so need to talk about that more. Hampton was recruited to Maryland as an offensive lineman and spent his first two years as a guard (before switching to defense last year), so that’s just a move back for him. That’s where things start to get interesting.

Kearse, obviously, is the cousin of former All-Everything NFL defensive end Jevon Kearse. Jevon started his collegiate career out as a linebacker/defensive back, and eventually moved to defensive end as he got bigger and when his pass rushing skills were too good to ignore. Desmond has the pass rushing skills (we saw them on full display in the few games he was able to play last year), but doesn’t have the size to be a down lineman yet. This move to linebacker is a natural progression (I’m guessing Todd Bradford’s defense doesn’t have the same Rover-ish position that Don Brown did and that Desmond was perfect for) and shouldn’t really change his role on the team.

Mackall was recruited as a defensive end out of high school and prep school, so he’s going back to his old position as well, and I like this move. Mackall’s one of the most talented players on the team that most Maryland fans have never heard of, and defensive end is a position that needs some work, with Drew Gloster graduating and Justin Anderson’s lack of production so far. He played pretty well as a backup middle linebacker last year, but what coaches rave about most when they talk about him is his ability to get to the ball. We’ll see that a lot this upcoming year.

Rowson is a move that puzzles me. At 6’3″, 190, he has incredible size for a corner, but is quite small for a linebacker. If he puts on a lot of weight this spring/summer, I can see it, because he’s strong, but I just remember all the coaches talking about how excited they were to have such a tall corner last season. I guess with all the recruits they’ve had come in at corner over the past two years they figured they could move him (although along with Kearse and Wilson, three of them are on this list).

Tate’s move legitimately shocks me. I had heard rumors of this, but dismissed them as exactly that – rumors. This is a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” moment. More accurately, “if it has All-American potential, don’t fix it”. At 6’4″, 220, he’d definitely be a hulking presence at linebacker, and he played very well at the line last year, but he’s one of the best safeties in the country. This hurts our defense, hurts his draft stock, and is just puzzling.

Wilson is also a move we knew about before, although we figured he’d move to running back, where he starred in high school. I’m guessing with the addition of Justus Pickett, they moved Wilson out wide to add some depth to Danny O’Brien’s options.

Also, apparently Travis Hawkins is transferring to Delaware. I don’t know how I missed this. He was a four-star corner coming out of Quince Orchard, but failed to really break into the rotation and left after two years. He had a lot of potential in this program, and that one really stings.

Now, we knew about all the scholarship players coming in that enrolled early (Tyrek Cheeseboro, Nigel King, Nate Clarke), but there are some other additions to Maryland’s roster – the walk ons. Let’s see who we can find.

Chris Pressley, Offensive Lineman – Listed at 6’5″, 350, this guy is massive. He’s from Upper Marlboro, went to Forestville, and is a transfer from PG CC.

Troy Jones, Quarterback – After the move of Devin Burns from quarterback to wideout, Jones might be the guy who takes his place on the depth chart (wherever that may be). He is listed at 6’1″, 186, is from Reistertown, and went to St. Paul’s School before transferring to the Kiski School in Pennsylvania. He’s also a steal, check out his highlight tape:

Jeff Hernandez, Running Back – A transfer from Bowie State, Hernandez comes into Maryland as a junior. He’s also huge. Listed at 5’11”, 245, he comes from Silver Spring, and went to John F. Kennedy High in Montgomery County (represent MoCo). Think battering ram for this guy. Here’s a highlight video, he played defensive tackle at Bowie and offensive guard/defensive tackle in high school, and has experience at full back as well (where he’ll almost certainly be put as a Terp).

Ray Lynn, Linebacker – Listed at 6’1″, 190, he’s a transfer from Franklin & Marshall. Lynn is from North Potomac and went to the Landon School.

Joshua Rushing, Linebacker – Rushing is a transfer from CC of Baltimore, and is listed at 6’2″, 213. He’s from Baltimore, and went to City College, home of Nick Faust.

Alvin Thomas, Defensive Lineman – Thomas played defensive end, tackle, and linebacker at Albright College, where he played the last two years. Listed at 6’0″, 225, he’s from Elkridge and went to Long Reach High School. Here’s the tape:

So that’s that. Spring football starts in about two weeks. Get excited.