Top 5 most important players for Maryland football

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Sep 13, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back William Likely (4) forces West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Mario Alford (5) to fumble after his catch at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Will Likely

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

Cornerback Will Likely has received a lot of preseason love from several of the award watch lists. Since stepping into the starting lineup as a freshman, Likely has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Maryland defense. Despite not being the tallest corner in the world, the Florida native has been a lockdown defender in every sense of the word. Likely went up against some great wideouts in the Big Ten in 2014 and managed to haul in six interceptions, which led the conference in that category.

With a quarterback like Rowe that hasn’t ever been the full-time starter, he could make a mistake or two at times. However, with a guy such as Likely in the defensive backfield, he is able to make plays to shut down opposing offensive threats and potentially keep the damage at a minimum.

Likely also has proved to be a very valuable asset in the return game. The junior returned a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns during the 2014 seasons. This is one of the most dynamic players in the Big Ten and maybe even the country. It’s no surprise that Likely made the watch list for the Hornung Award, which is annually awarded to the most versatile defensive player.

If Likely has another monster season, Maryland could definitely be heading to a bowl game and maybe even the NFL Draft.