Former Houston defensive end Zeke Riser could make a big impact on a short-staffed defensive line. (Photo Credit: Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
The middle of July isn’t exactly the time when you can find a productive defensive lineman to add to your roster. However, Maryland was able to do just that as they received a commitment from former Houston defensive end Zeke Riser.
Riser played under Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart and his 3-4 defense in Houston before Stewart came to College Park in 2012. The Texas-born defensive end is a graduate transfer, so he will be eligible to play for Maryland this fall. Riser was supposed to walk-on at Texas but things didn’t work out and he was forced to explore alternative options. Riser is not officially a Terrapin yet because he still has to sign his finnancial aid agreement. However, Riser has been accepted into Maryland’s real estate development program.
The former Cougar defensive end was productive as a junior in 2012 as he recorded three sacks and racked up 38 (eight for loss). Riser started 27 career games at Houston and graduated from the school in December. Riser appeared on the Conference USA All-Freshman Defensive Team in 2009 and started all 14 games that season.
Maryland is definitely in need of some help on the defensive line, so the addition of Riser is a huge boost. Riser wasn’t promised a starting spot by Stewart but should be a rotational player at the very least. The Terps don’t have a ton of experience on the defensive line after losing Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis to the NFL. After Justin Anderson left the program and transferred to Massachusetts, the Terps were left with the likes of Keith Bowers, Darius Kilgo, and Quinton Jefferson at the top of the depth chart. Bowers and Kilgo have started a mere 11 games over their collegiate careers while Jefferson has never started a single game. I would expect that Riser would challenge for a starting spot once he has a full grasp on the playbook. That shouldn’t take long since he is very familiar with Stewart’s system. Obviously, Riser isn’t a superstar but he provides depth in an area that previously had very little.