What to expect from Jefferson Ashiru


On Friday, the Maryland football program added transfer linebacker Jefferson Ashiru.

With the addition, what exactly can Maryland expect from Ashiru?

Ashiru was a three-star recruit coming out of McEachern High School in suburban Atlanta. McEachern also was the alma mater of current Terps Amba Etta-Tawo and reserve offensive lineman JaJuan Dulaney.

Despite being an under-the-radar prospect, Ashiru still managed to land scholarship offers from Duke, Memphis, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss in addition to Connecticut. Coach Randy Edsall had recruited Ashiru before he departed for College Park in January 2011.

In 2014, Ashiru recorded 47 tackles (20 solo) despite missing the final three games when he left the team. His 47 tackles equal out to 5.22 tackles-per-game.

In 2013, Ashiru posted a similar stat line as he totaled 58 tackles (24 solo), including five tackles and one of two UConn fumble recoveries against Maryland on Sept. 13.

With Maryland losing all four starting linebackers to graduation, the front seven will have quite a different look to it when the season opens on Sept. 5 against Richmond.

The fact that the Terps are moving to a 4-3 defender under Keith Dudzinski, which alters things to an even further extent. Yannick Ngakoue will move out of the hybrid linebacker role that he has been in during his first two seasons in College Park. Ngakoue will be a pure defensive end that puts his hand in the dirt and rushes the passer.

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Maryland does have some young and talented linebackers in sophomore Jalen Brooks, sophomore Jermaine Carter, and junior Abner Logan.

That’s where Ashiru comes into play. The Terps are relatively young at the linebacker position and could use some veteran leadership to balance out the group.

In watching film of Ashiru, several things become very clear.

The Georgia native is an extremely alert football player when it comes to reading the quarterback’s eyes. He’s not afraid to stay at home and help defend against the run.

When it comes to tackles, Ashiru isn’t exactly a Cole Farrand-type that racks up double-digit tackles every game. However, when the former Huskie does get his chance, he wraps up opposing players and displays his strength.

While his stats may not suggest it, Ashiru is pretty quick and can rush the rusher when he has to. He’s a player that can take advantage of matchups against opposing offensive lines. For example, when Connecticut faced Rutgers back in 2013, Ashiru was able to shoot right through the gaps and pressure then-quarterback Chas Dodd. Dodd did get rid of the football, but he did so a lot quicker than he wanted to and it resulted in an incompletion in the red zone.

Ashiru always played in one of UConn’s outside linebackers spots. He’s an incredibly disciplined football player that is rarely caught out of position.

With a fairly young linebacking unit, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ashiru started at one of the outside linebacker spots. Maryland is younger in the front seven than they have been in any point during Edsall’s tenure.

Along with guys like defensive end Jesse Aniebonam, Carter, and Ngakoue, this is a unit that could be extremely talented for the Terps. Ashiru will definitely help out in a big way.

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