Sep 13, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett (9) is sacked by Maryland Terrapins lineman Quinton Jefferson (99) at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Following Saturday’s win against Syracuse, Maryland was dealt multiple crushing blows in terms of the injury department. Defensive end Quinton Jefferson (knee surgery), linebacker Cavon Walker (foot), and tight end Andrew Issacs (dislocated knee) won’t play another snap this season. I’ll take a look at how each injury could affect the Terrapins going forward.
Quinton Jefferson – Jefferson is the injury that could affect the Terps the most. In 2013, Jefferson recorded 47 tackles and three sacks in 13 starts. He had 10 tackles and a sack through three games this season.
The junior defensive end provides significant pressure off the edge, and has the ability to get to the quarterback. His large frame will be missed at the line of scrimmage. It allows him to bat balls down at the line, and make opposing signal callers think twice about the pass they’re about to throw. Jefferson is just an all-around superb athlete, and the Terps are definitely going to miss his presence every Saturday.
Cavon Walker – Walker is an extremely underrated player that is a major loss to the Terps defense. In 2013, Walker recorded nine tackles (two solo) in mainly special teams duty. He already had six tackles (five solo) in three games this season.
Talent aside, Walker’s injury hurts from a depth perspective. Maryland has seen Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, Cole Farrand, L.A. Goree, and Matt Robinson miss portions of time due to injury this season. Walker is a very quick and agile defender that could’ve seen significant snaps in the rotation. The Friendship Collegiate Academy graduate is a very sound tackler, and has the ability to rush the passer. His relentless pursuit of the ball carrier is something to be admired. He likely would’ve been one of the first backup options for defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s unit. His presence will be missed this season, but Walker should be able to get a medical redshirt.
Andrew Issacs – Issacs is one of the Maryland players with the biggest upside. The Connecticut native sat behind Dave Stinebaugh last year, and played primarily special teams. Coming into the 2014 season, Issacs was appointed as the number-one tight end on the depth chart. In four games, he only had two catches.
Issacs may not have produced much early on this season, but his presence will be missed. In terms of his size and athletic ability, Issacs has similarities to former Terp and San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Once he gets into the flow of the offense, Issacs may have been a very valuable asset this season.
However, Maryland does have a few capable guys that can help to replace Issacs. Redshirt freshman Derrick Hayward and sophomore P.J. Gallo currently sit atop the depth chart heading into Maryland’s first Big Ten game against Indiana. Gallo has one catch for 11 yards and Hayward has yet to catch a collegiate pass. Hayward did draw rave reviews in training camp. Right now, it appears that Gallo has more experience, and will likely see more targets in the coming weeks. Both are athletic enough to get the job done, and Maryland should be fine going forward.