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 Maryland’s starting center.
Bennett Fulper, Junior, Center
Ratings: Two stars by Rivals; two stars by Scout; unrated by ESPN, #21 center in 2013 draft class by NFL Draft Scout
40-yard dash time: 5.2
High School Stats (Senior Year): N/A
High School: Gretna High School (Gretna, Va.)
How’d He Get To College Park?
A lightly recruited offensive guard coming out of tiny Gretna, Fulper chose Maryland over top tier FCS schools like James Madison and Appalachian State. He played on the offensive and defensive lines in high school, starting all four years on the O-line. After spending the first three at center, he moved over to right tackle for his last year. The Hawks won the state title in 2008, and Fulper was named to the All-State team after that year. Like many O-Linemen, Fulper also was on the track and field team in high school, performing in the shotput and discus events.
Fulper’s also an incredibly smart kid – as evidenced by his four years as a starter on the line – but also by the fact that he’s majoring in engineering and Maryland and got a 4.2 GPA in high school.
Fulper became the first (and only) interior lineman under Ralph Friedgen to start as a true freshman when he did so against James Madison. During that first year, he played in seven games, including three starts at left guard and one start at right guard. As a sophomore, he played in all 13 games, starting in seven. At the beginning of the year, Fulper lost out the battle to start at right guard with Justin Lewis. After Justin Gilbert and Pete DeSouza came down with injuries, Paul Pinegar moved from center outside to tackle, clearing the way for Fulper to start the rest of the season at center.
More after the jump.
Bennett “Neville Longbottom” Fulper. The resemblance is uncanny.
Winning the state title with Gretna, starting as a true freshman.
Losing the right guard battle to drunk Hulk Justin Lewis last year.
Arbitrary Top Five List:
First five champions of the 1990s, Northern Football League:
3. Whitby Town
4. Durham City
5. Tow Law Town
Fulper excels at center, earning first team All-ACC honors.
Fulper struggles in his first true starting role, as Sal Conaboy takes some playing time from him.
Bennett Fulper enters the 2011 campaign as the unquestioned starter at center. After playing very well as the starter at the position for the last half of last year, and with the graduation of Paul Pinegar, there was very little competition for the spot. Behind him is redshirt freshman Sal Conaboy, transfer Chris Pressley, and true freshman Evan Mulrooney.
Fulper is yet another example of a lineman graded lowly by recruiting services becoming an excellent player as soon as he steps on campus (our theory – they’re more difficult to grade due to technique and quality of opposition). He has the center position on lock for the next two years, with Conaboy and Mulrooney fighting for it from that point on.
There’s really not much else to talk about here. Fulper has the starting center spot for the near future, and is damn good at it. Next?
Our next player has a babyface. It had to be said.