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 profile our first of two in a row of an odd commodity – a starter from last year who will now start at a different position.
Demetrius Hartsfield, Junior (RS), Middle Linebacker
Ratings: Three stars, #18 in North Carolina, #30 inside linebacker by Rivals; two stars, #53 weakside linebacker Scout; three stars, #20 inside linebacker by ESPN, #13 inside linebacker in 2013 draft class by NFL Draft Scout
40-yard dash time: 4.6
High School Stats (senior year): 132 tackles, 12 for a loss, eight sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries
High School Stats (junior year): 128 tackles, 16 for a loss, ten sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown)
College Stats (through two years): 152 tackles (67 solo), 13 for a loss, four sacks, one fumble forced, two fumbles recovered, six pass breakups, and one interception (for a touchdown)
High School: Southeast Raleigh High School (Raleigh, Nc.)
How’d He Get To College Park?
Considering how (relatively) close North Carolina is, it’s surprising Maryland hasn’t made more of a push into that area for football recruiting. Then again, with four ACC schools and a good C-USA program in East Carolina down there already, it’s also easy to understand why they might want to focus on more local pursuits. Demetrius Hartsfield joins only four other North Carolinians on the Terps’ roster, and is one of two (possibly three depending on who wins the punting battle) starters from that state on Maryland roster. If you don’t know who the other one is, you just might not be a Maryland fan.
Hartsfield came out of Southeast Raleigh projected by most (read: everyone but Scout) to be an inside linebacker at the next level, but when he came in to the Maryland program there was an Alex Wujciak-sized barrier in his way. Instead of using Hartsfield as Wuj’s backup, the coaches realized they couldn’t keep his talent off the field and moved him to weakside linebacker, where he started all of last year and most of 2009 after redshirting his first year on campus.
After a freshman campaign that saw him named to the All-ACC Freshman team by Rivals, Hartsfield had an even better sophomore year, recording 88 tackles (third on the team) with six and a half for a loss (third on the team). He returned an interception for a touchdown in the Morgan State game, and recorded 13 tackles twice in the year – against Florida International and in the Military Bowl against East Carolina.
Hartsfield was recruited by North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Georgia, but in terms of offers Maryland only had Buffalo, Duke, and East Carolina to compete with. He was recruited to Maryland by former special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Ray Rychleski, who left for South Carolina before Hartsfield made it to campus.
He was named to the All-State team after his senior year.
More after the jump.
Without a doubt, the Clemson game in 2009. In Maryland’s only FBS win of the year, Hartsfield recorded ten tackles, including a sack of Kyle Parker with less than a minute left that forced a fumble (which he recovered), sealing the 24-21 win.
After three and a half sacks in his freshman year, he only recorded half a sack in his sophomore season.
Arbitrary Top Five List:
Top five tacklers for Maryland last season:
1. Alex Wujciak – 117
2. Kenny Tate – 100
3. Demetrius Hartsfield – 88
4. Adrian Moten – 77
5. Antwine Perez – 74
Hartsfield transitions easily back to his old position, leading the Terps in tackles and helping mentor the inexperienced linebacking corps.
Hartsfield has to rely heavily on the rest of his defense to help him out as he struggles to adjust. Fortunately for him, there’s just about no one who can take snaps away at Mike.
Demetrius Hartsfield may have suddenly found himself as the most important player on Maryland’s defense. Over the last two seasons, he was an overshadowed linebacker – successful, but always away from the spotlight focused on Moten and Wujciak. Now, moving over to arguably the most important position on the defense at Mike, you had to figure he would get more attention this year. However, with the recent pattern of players leaving the team (Ryan Donohue), Hartsfield is left as really the only viable option for Maryland at Mike. Barring a position change from one of the players at the ROCK position (and we really, really want a position change from one of the players at the ROCK position), the only players behind Demetrius at Mike are the walk-on Ray Lynn, born with just a thumb on one hand, and incoming freshman Cole Farrand, who is not yet ready for ACC football.
So ignoring the possibility of injury (and the fact that if Hartsfield gets injured, Maryland is absolutely screwed), Hartsfield has no option but to play. No matter how poorly he performs, there’s really no option Maryland can viably use instead of him. Luckily, Terps’ fans have enough background knowledge of Hartsfield to know that this really isn’t likely – he’s moving back to his old, more familiar position and he’s been extremely successful in his time as a Maryland linebacker so far. Not only that, he’s gotten a reputation of being a very hard worker and extremely motivated on and off the field.
Bottom line, there’s next to zero chance of Demetrius Hartsfield having a bad season at middle linebacker. Unfortunately, even if he does, there’s not much Maryland can do about it.
Our next player was one of the best wide receivers I have ever seen at the high school level.