A recurring series where we will profile every player and coach on Maryland’s roster, counting down to kick-off against Miami. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we move on to the linebackers, kicking it off with the transfers and walk-ons.
Lamonte Gaddis, Sophomore; Ray Lynn, Junior; Joshua Rushing, Junior; Shaquan Virgil, Junior
Heights: 5’9″, 6’1″, 6’2″, 6’1″
Weights: 205, 190, 213, 210
High Schools: Cleveland Catholic Central High School (Cleveland, Oh.); Landon School (North Potomac, Md.), City College High School (Baltimore, Md.), Florence High School (Bordentown, Nj.)
How’d They Get To College Park?
Gaddis was a star football player and track athlete at Cleveland Catholic Central, and your guess is as good as mine as to how he ended up all the way out here. Unlike most other walk-ons, he actually profiles on Rivals and ESPN (albeit with no rankings), and he was quite accomplished at CCC. As a running back, strong safety, linebacker, and kick returner did very well, as this delightfully low-tech recruiting profile will tell you. He was second-team all conference as a freshman, recording 41 tackles and rushing for 435 yards and four touchdowns, and first-team all conference as a sophomore with 64 tackles, 684 rushing yards and six touchdown. The profile cuts off there, but I assume he just continued to put up great numbers and dominate Cleveland with his incredible size (205 pounds at 5’9″?!).
More after the jump.
Lynn is probably the best story of them all. Born with only a thumb on his left hand, Lynn excelled as a track athlete and quarterback at the Landon School in North Potomac, leading to this profile written on him by Josh Barr of WaPo. He was named to the 2007 All-Sentinel Football Team, and was a captain at the Landon School before heading to Franklin & Marshall as a quarterback/linebacker. Just read the story done by Barr – it’s a great piece and tells you everything you need to know about Lynn.
There is next to no information about Rushing out there. He went to City College in Baltimore (home of Nick Faust) and went to the Community College of Baltimore for two years before transferring to Maryland. His UMTerps profile doesn’t even have a picture, as evidenced by the crappy photo substitute I used above. I do know, however, that he wore #5 in high school and played mostly defensive back and safety.
Virgil originally committed to Villanova (hey look, he has a Rivals profile too) but headed to Monmouth before transferring to Maryland. He helped the Florence Township Flashes to four straight Central Jersey Group 1 titles and a 47-1 record in his time there, and recorded 158 tackles as a senior. He was a team captain his last two years, and was named his county’s Defensive Player of the Year his senior year. Virgil, like Rushing and so many other “linebackers” on Maryland’s squad, is a converted defensive back, and brings 4.4 speed to show for it.
Lamonte “The Recognition” Gaddis
Joshua “JuJu” Rushing – it’s what the man has on Facebook.
“Sugar” Ray Lynn
Lynn remains the primary backup to Demetrius Hartsfield, Gaddis becomes the starting kick-off returner, and Rushing and Virgil get opportunities in more complex packages.
One of the players at the ROCK position moves over to Mike, putting Lynn down the depth chart, Gaddis doesn’t win the return job, and none of the guys play.
Well, this timing worked out pretty well. With yesterday’s announcement that Ryan Donohue is leaving the program, Ray Lynn is now the only backup for Demetrius Hartsfield at middle linebacker (besides Cole Farrand, who is coming into the program this fall but needs a bit of work). It’ll be interesting to see if Todd Bradford keeps Lynn as the No. 2 guy, or if he decides to move Marcus Whitfield back to linebacker or even give Farrand a shot. Lynn has the best shot of any of these guys at significant playing time, and you can imagine that will be a feel-good storyline throughout the year.
Gaddis actually played in one game last year – the Military Bowl, where he came in at kick returner. Don’t be surprised if you see him involved in that unit again this year – it’s one that Maryland struggled with last year and they lose Torrey Smith. Gaddis is also listed as the third-string Will linebacker, behind Lorne Goree and Darin Drakeford.
Virgil and Rushing are both listed at the crowded STAR position, behind Desmond Kearse, Mario Rowson and Kenny Tate. Those two guys are probably the least likely of this group to see playing time, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come in and put pressure on the quarterback in certain situation (read: fourth quarter of the Towson game).
Our next player goes by the nickname “L.A.”