One of the most desperate needs throughout the recent history of Maryland football has been a signal caller that is consistent.
The Terrapins go through quarterbacks like a toddler does with clothes. Almost every year, Maryland sees more than one or two men under center due to performance or injury problems.
With offensive coordinator Walt Bell‘s new high-powered offense, fans are excited to see what these quarterbacks on the roster can do. Maryland’s quarterbacks stack up like this:
Caleb Rowe – Redshirt Senior
Perry Hills -Redshirt Senior
Gage Shaffer – Redshirt Freshman
Tyrrell Pigrome – Freshman
Max Bortenschlager – Freshman
Hills and Rowe split up the time last season under center, but things will need to be different this time around. The Terrapins need to find out which of these two guys can take a firm hold on the starting job for the entire season.
Both of these guys are gone after this year, which allows Bell to groom one of the incoming freshmen or Shaffer for an entire season, then possibly have a guy that can start for three or four seasons.
If Pigrome or Bortenschlager proves they can excel at this level, that’ll allow Maryland to ease 2017 recruit Kasim Hill in the fold.
Maryland’s only quarterbacks with game experience have very similar stats and not in a good way.
During the 2015 campaign, Rowe took part in nine of the 12 games and completed 46.3 percent of his passes for 894 yards. Rowe tossed just six touchdowns while throwing 15 interceptions.
Hills had some success at times and didn’t struggle as much as Rowe. He appeared in eight games and completed 50 percent of his passes for 1,001 yards to go along with eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
One of the biggest attributes that Hills brings to the table is his ability to run with the football. In 2015, the Pennsylvania native rushed for 535 yards (4.9 yards-per-carry) and three touchdowns.
Shaffer didn’t take a snap as a true freshman, but was a key member of the scout team.
Maryland has always had interception struggles, but the spring game shed some new light on where the quarterback battle currently is.
Bell’s new offense put on a rather decent showing against coach D.J. Durkin‘s powerful defense. The quarterback play looked light years better than it did last season.
The case can be made that Hills has the skillset that’s best suited for Bell’s offense. He performed well at times last season, and his deep passes no longer look like he’s shot putting the ball to his wide receivers.
It makes sense because Bell’s offense provides a dynamic attack both in the air and on the ground. He gets the ball out fast to the sideline, and will keep defenses on their heels. The defense will also have to respect Hills’ ability to run.
Projected Depth Chart
1.) Perry Hills
2.) Caleb Rowe
3.) Gage Shaffer
4.) Tyrrell Pigrome
5.) Max Borternshlager
Maryland is building for its future, so this year will be mainly for preparing Pigrome, who is the incoming favorite to start in 2017. He provides a near identical skillset to Bell’s former quarterback project, Fredi Knighten, at Arkansas State. Both stand at 5′ 11, and only nine pounds separate the two, so the comparisons are certainly going to run rampant.
Barring a huge quarterback pickup or loss, this is how things seem to be flowing. Hills should get the nod this season with Rowe picking up any slack. That will allow Bell time to find his quarterback of the future. Maryland needs to have a single quarterback start for two or more years in a row if they want to start making some noise in the Big Ten.