Does Perry Hills deserve to start?


In a radio interview on Monday, coach Randy Edsall said that Perry Hills sits atop the depth chart at quarterback?

The question is: does he deserve it?

Edsall joined ESPN 980 on Monday morning and it didn’t come as a huge surprise that the first question was regarding the quarterback position. The Terps boss certainly didn’t pull any punches as he revealed the order of the three signal callers that are competing for the starting job.

Edsall announced that Hills is currently the top dog in the race with Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman at No. 2 and surprisingly Caleb Rowe bringing up the rear.

Rowe being third on the depth chart definitely comes as a big surprise, but it also needs to be stated that he is coming off of major knee surgery. However, it appears that Hills is doing all the right things in practice and even in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“The one thing I told all of them yesterday,” Edsall said, “I brought them each in individually, sat them down and told them where they were and said, ‘Perry, if you want to stay No. 1, just keep playing that way and doing the things you’re supposed to.’

Let’s take a closer look at Hills and how he got to this point.

The Pittsburgh native came to College Park as at three-star recruit and a top 25 player in the state of Pennsylvania. In August of 2012, starting quarterback C.J. Brown went down with a knee injury and was lost for the season. This came after former freshman wonder Danny O’Brien transferred out of the program, leaving the Terps with little depth at the position.

With just a few weeks until the season opener, Edsall appointed a true freshman in Hills as his starting quarterback.

Hills had a solid freshman season, aside from the season opener against William & Mary in which he tossed three interceptions. During the 2012 campaign, the former Central Catholic (Pa.) star completed 97-of-169 passes for 1,336 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with seven interceptions.

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Hills threw at least one touchdown in five of the seven contests, including throwing for 305 yards and three touchdowns against West Virginia and a pair of touchdowns against Temple. Both of those games took place on the road.

As the season went on, he became a more accurate passer and completed 60 percent of his throws while only tossing three interceptions. Hills seemed to really be exceling in the offense before he suffered a torn ACL, which prematurely ended his season.

In 2013, Hills served a redshirt season.

In 2014, Hills appeared in three games, most notably against Iowa on Oct. 18. In relief of Brown, he completed 5-of-10 passes for 86 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter. Hills’ touchdown strike put Maryland up 24-14 at the time and the Terps did not look back the rest of the way.

Hills has seen more action than most backup quarterbacks in the collegiate ranks do. He’s appeared in 10 games at Maryland, but has only registered statistics in eight of those contests.

When Hills has seen action for the Terps, he seems to play like a wily veteran. He has command of the huddle and doesn’t panic when faced with adversity.

In the Iowa game last season, Hills didn’t get off to the best start as the Hawkeyes brought consistent pressure and the Maryland offensive line wasn’t ready for it. However, Hills orchestrated his second drive to perfection as he found Diggs twice, including the touchdown on the screen pass.

Hills has been in many different game situations during his time in College Park, so he definitely is well-prepared for the starting job if he is able to stay No. 1 on the depth chart.

With running back Brandon Ross looking like a more talented runner, Hills has the tools to be successful once again with the Terps. The question is: will he be able to hold off Garman and Rowe over the next week?

Next: 2015 Maryland Football: running backs preview