On Wednesday, the Maryland football program had medical hardship waivers granted to eight players. Those eight players now have the option of playing an additional year with the program due to their injuries during the 2014 season. Among that group of Terrapins was quarterback Caleb Rowe, defensive backs Daniel Ezeagwu and Alvin Hill, tight end Andrew Issacs, wide receiver Taivon Jacobs, defensive end Quinton Jefferson, running back Albert Reid, quarterback Caleb Rowe, and linebacker Cavon Walker. I’ll take a look at some of the players that will benefit most from an additional year in College Park.
Caleb Rowe – Rowe is the most intruiging prospect of the group. Since Danny O’Brien’s career fizzled out in College Park, it’s been C.J. Brown under center for the Terps. Brown has finally graduated and the time has come for Rowe to be the full-time starter. During parts of three seasons, Rowe filled in for the often-injured Brown while also suffering through his own rash of injuries. In an injury-shortened 2014 season, the South Carolina native threw for 489 yards to go along with five touchdown passes and four interceptions. Rowe’s best performance came against Indiana in which he completed 12-of-18 passes for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He saw action in the entire second half as Brown injured his wrist and didn’t take a snap in the half.
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While Rowe hasn’t seen extended duty as the Maryland signal caller, there’s reasons to believe he’ll be successful as the number-one option in 2015. Rowe is a more traditional pro-style quarterback than Brown ever was. When Rowe was under center, the offense seemed more fluid at times, and Rowe will have a very talented offensive line protecting him. An additional year will give Rowe a chance to truly blossom, and will also allow future quarterbacks to not rush their development. Whether it’s four-star recruit Dwayne Haskins, Shane Cockerille, or Gage Shaffer under center, the coaching staff can groom them for the position rather than throwing them into the fire.
Taivon Jacobs – Jacobs has a ton of potential, and was supposed to be one of the bigger producers for the Terps in 2014. However, Jacobs suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener against James Madison. Obviously, Maryland had plenty of depth a season ago with the likes of Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Marcus Leak, and Juwann Winfree having productive campaigns.
Jacobs is a lightning quick wideout with 4.3 speed and a bevy of elusiveness when he gets in the open field. If Terp fans remember correctly, the former Suitland standout flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Maryland on National Signing Day. With Diggs and Long heading to the NFL, the Terps could look to Jacobs and potentially his brother Levern to be two of the top options for Rowe in the passing game. If Taivon Jacobs is able to stay healthy, this could be a big step in realizing his true potential.
Quinton Jefferson – Maryland’s front seven is going to suffer through a lot of turnover in 2015. Defensive end Andre Monroe and nose tackle Darius Kilgo are among the pieces that are graduating. Jefferson had an injury-shortened season that only saw him appear in three games for Maryland. The Pittsburgh native suffered a season-ending knee injury against Syracuse.
Prior to going down, Jefferson registered eight tackles (four solo) and a sack. Jefferson is a versatile defensive lineman that brings a wealth of veteran experience to the table. The likes of junior linebacker Yannick Ngakoue and sophomore defensive end/linebacker Jesse Aniebonam will look to help lead the Maryland front seven and Jefferson will give the Terps even more talent up front. That’ll help since sophomore defensive lineman David Shaw will miss the next five months due to a knee injury.