How do the Terps replace Juwann Winfree?


On Monday, wideout Juwann Winfree was suspended indefinitely for violating the student code of conduct. We’ll take a look at how the Terps will replace him.

It’s currently unclear what Winfree did to violate the student code of conduct at Maryland. However, he was suspended for the final two regular season games in 2014 for the very same thing.

Judging by these facts, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Winfree missed significant time during the 2015 season. If that happens to be the case, just how will coach Randy Edsall and his staff replace the productive young wideout?

Let’s start at the top of the depth chart.

Senior Levern Jacobs is definitely the cream of the crop. The elder Jacobs is coming off a season-long suspension, but was around the team for the duration of the 2014 campaign. As a sophomore in 2013, Jacobs caught 47 passes for 640 yards, both team highs, while hauling in three touchdown passes.

Jacobs has replaced talented wideouts before. On Oct. 26, 2013, star wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long both suffered season-ending leg injuries and Jacobs was immediately forced to step up. In that very same game against Wake Forest, he caught three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, which was his first career touchdown reception.

Jacobs is everything you want in a No. 1 wideout. The former Suitland star can line up just about anywhere on the football field. He is just as comfortable doing damage on the outside as he is running slant patterns over the middle. Jacobs also isn’t afraid of contact as he has taken his fair share of tough hits during his Maryland career. He also has lined up in the backfield at times when quarterback C.J. Brown was taking the snaps. However, we may not see as much of that with prototypical signal callers like Caleb Rowe and Daxx Garman under center in 2015.

The senior wideout was most likely going to be the No. 1 receiver on the depth chart regardless of Winfree’s status.

Levern’s brother Taivon Jacobs is also expected to be a big producer for the Terps in 2015.

Taivon Jacobs was expected to see the field quite a bit in 2014, but his season barely got off the ground. Jacobs tore his ACL while running a deep route in Maryland’s season opener against James Madison on Aug. 30.

Jacobs put up monster numbers during his final two high school seasons. As a junior in 2011, Jacobs caught 35 passes for 921 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a senior, he hauled in 44 passes for 1,044 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jacobs drew big-time high-major interest from some of the top football programs in the country. Florida State, Michigan State, and Ohio State were just some of the schools that were courting Jacobs. Originally a Buckeyes pledge, Jacobs ended up reconsidering his commitment and flipped to Maryland on National Signing Day.

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Jacobs may be even faster than his brother as he boasts 4.3 speed. He is also just as elusive in the open field and has big-play potential. It’s hard to really say how Jacobs projects to the collegiate level because we’ve only seen him play about a half of football for the Terps. In 2015, we’ll likely find out just how good the younger Jacobs is.

After the Jacobs brothers, junior Amba Etta-Tawo provides some stability for the Terps.

Etta-Tawo has seen the field quite a bit during his first two seasons in College Park, partially due to the injury bug hitting Maryland’s wideouts. His freshman season was the most productive as he caught 31 passes for 500 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers took a hit in 2014 as Etta-Tawo only hauled in 10 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Much like Levern Jacobs, Etta-Tawo had his most success when Diggs and Long missed significant time during the 2013 season. Etta-Tawo had a pair of games in which he topped the century mark in receiving yards.

Etta-Tawo is a different type of receiver than Levern and Taivon Jacobs. The Jacobs brothers rely more on speed and are able to line up just about anywhere on the field. Etta-Tawo is more of a possession receiver. He’s the type of wideout that moves the chains and catches the football in tight spaces. If you watch film on Etta-Tawo, it’s pretty clear that he has great hands and helps move the chains quite a bit. He does have decent size at 6’1, so he is able to go up and catch the ball in traffic. When your home-run wideouts aren’t getting it done, that’s when guys like Etta-Tawo become that much more important to the offense’s overall success.

After these top three options, this is where Maryland’s group gets a little interesting.

Marcus Leak and Jacquille Veii are gone, so guys like redshirt freshman Will Ulmer and junior DeAndre Lane will have opportunities in 2015. Lane and Ulmer both were active in Maryland’s Red-White Spring Game. Lane was been primarily a special teams player throughout his career as a Terp. Lane may not be the biggest wideout in the world, but he possesses a ton of speed and could be used out of the backfield. In the Spring Game, Ulmer ran the wildcat a bit, so that would give Maryland more formation options. We haven’t seen a lot from Ulmer as a receiver, so his skillset could be a work in progress.

These are the five top options that will be at Maryland’s disposal to replace Winfree. Obviously, there’s a significant amount of talent. The Terps definitely can get by with the rest of the depth chart. However, having Winfree eligible to play is what you ultimately want.

Only time will tell if that’s actually a reality.