No. 2 Linebacker
Linebacker was one of the biggest question marks entering last season. Aside from Connecticut transfer Jefferson Ashiru, there wasn’t a ton of proven talent at the position.
Jalen Brooks and Jermaine Carter Jr. played well in spots in 2014, but weren’t starters. Despite Ashiru going down early on, Brooks and Carter provided a ton of stability to the position. In fact, Carter was one of the most productive linebackers in the Big Ten as he manned the middle for the Terps. He finished 10th in tackles (103) and fourth in solo tackles (66) while also forcing a pair of fumbles. It’s no wonder that Carter is on the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award.
The only question mark with the linebacking group in 2016 is depth. Brett Zanotto played a decent amount as a freshman after Ashiru was lost for the season. He registered 23 tackles (13 solo), which ended up leading all Maryland freshmen. Zanotto wasn’t supposed to see the field much, but he was a pleasant surprise.
When Maryland runs a 4-3 scheme, the starting group will most likely be Brooks, Carter, and Zanotto. After that, it’s uncertain who will be big-time producers for the Terps. Shane Cockerille spent time at fullback and quarterback last season, but was converted to linebacker in the offseason. Cockerille received first team reps and played in some nickel formations back in April. It’s definitely possible that Cockerille will get a considerable amount of playing time.
Next: No. 1 Quarterback