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 one of the three returning All-ACC players on Maryland’s roster.
Joe Vellano, Junior (RS), Defensive Tackle
Ratings: Three stars, #7 in New York, #62 strongside defensive end by Rivals in 2008; two stars by Scout; two stars, #111 defensive tackle by ESPN, #14 defensive tackle in 2013 class by NFL Draft Scout
40-yard dash time: 5.0
High School Stats (junior season): 78 tackles
College Stats (through two seasons): 64 tackles (24 solo), 10.5 for a loss, five sacks, two pass breakups, one fumble forced, one kick blocked
High School: Christian Brothers Academy (Rexford, NY.))
How’d He Get To College Park?
Joe Vellano is yet another example of a player who wasn’t considered a prized prospect by recruiting agencies coming out of high school but exploded on the college scene at his first opportunity. Maryland seems to be the only major school that offered him coming out of high school, but he was also recruited by UConn (with Randy Edsall), Penn State, and Georgia Tech, among others. He was still one of the top prospects in the admittedly weak football state of New York, and ended up at Maryland as a defensive end recruit.
The Terps immediately moved Vellano to defensive tackle (with his frame and slow 40-time, I’m surprised he was even listed as a D-End), and he’s found a lot of success. He played well on the scout team and during spring practice during his first two years, but injuries slowed his progress and limited his playing time.
The aforementioned injury was a broken right foot, and after last year, it’s safe to say he’s completely recovered. Vellano was by far the most impressive player during spring practice, and carried that forward to the regular season, recording 63 tackles (most on the defensive line) with 10.5 for a loss and five sacks (both tops on the team). He was named second team All-ACC for his efforts.
A note – Vellano’s dad, Paul, was an All-American and a two-time all-conference selection during his time at Maryland.
More after the jump.
Joe “Joey V” Vellano
Being named second team all-ACC last year and the all around performance that made that selection a deserving one.
The injuries he suffered at the beginning of his career.
Arbitrary Top Five List:
1973 All-American defensive tackles:
1. Ed “Too Tall” Jones
2. Randy Crowder
3. Bill Kollar
4. Paul Vellano
5. Charlie Hall
Vellano builds on his year last season, recording more than five sacks and being named a first team all-conference selection.
Vellano struggles with the newfound attention on the line and without A.J. Francis to take the pressure off of him.
With Kenny Tate, Joe Vellano is one of the two returning players on Maryland’s defense who were all-ACC selections last year. With Tate, Demetrius Hartsfield, and Cameron Chism, he is one of only four returning starter on the Terps’ D who will still be starting this season. Of those four, only Vellano and Chism are playing the same position they played last year.
It’s safe to say Vellano has a boatload of expectations coming into this year. It’s also safe to say that a lot of his success from last season came from the presence of A.J. Francis. After Francis’ fantastic freshman year, defensive lines consistently double-teamed him, leaving Vellano with a lot of one-on-one matchups that he exploited. That’s not to take away from Vellano’s ability – he’s surprisingly quick for a guy his size – you just can’t talk about his success without mentioning Francis.
When you talk about the safety position, there’s usually one stronger guy and one quicker guy (Antwine Perez and Kenny Tate, Matt Robinson and Eric Franklin, etc.). The same can be said for effective 4-3 defensive lines in the middle. Last year, Francis provided the strength while Vellano showed great quickness and agility (although both of them had their fair share of both traits). This year, with Andre Monroe joining Vellano in the middle, you’ve got two guys whose main asset is their quickness. It will be interesting to see if Vellano’s playing style is altered at all and also if he is able to find the same amount of success.
Regardless, Joe Vellano is a known name in the ACC for one reason – he’s a great defensive tackle who made the best of a good situation last year. He was without a doubt the best defensive lineman on Maryland’s roster last season, and looks to repeat that again this year (although don’t count out David Mackall).
Our next player is an incoming freshman linebacker. Sorry guys, we have to backtrack a little (I completely spaced on the freshmen linebackers and defensive linemen).