With the season opener just days away, the Maryland football team released their first depth chart on Monday evening.
The release of depth chart was more highly anticipated than in past years given the fact that D.J. Durkin was wiping the slate clean with all players. Prior to fall camp, Durkin had made it clear that it didn’t matter what any player did before the new coaching staff arrived.
The Terrapins will host Howard on Saturday for a noon kickoff. It’ll mark the first time that the two schools have ever met on the gridiron.
Durkin had announced last week that Perry Hills would be the team’s starting quarterback. Aside from that, very little was known about where players would be on the depth chart.
Below are the highlights of the depth chart along with some surprises.
- Hills is obviously the starter at quarterback, but his backups are definitely a bit surprising. Max Bortenschlager and Tyrrell Pigrome are listed as the co-backups under center. While it’s not surprising to see Pigrome already making some noise, it’s a bit of a shock to see Gage Shaffer absent from the depth chart. Shaffer appeared to be making positive strides at the position throughout camp. Caleb Rowe was banged up throughout the bulk of camp, so that could play into why he didn’t make the two-deep.
- The running back position is one of the deepest on the roster. However, Wes Brown will miss the first three games due to suspension. With that in mind, Ty Johnson is listed as the team’s starting tailback against Howard. Given his performance towards the end of last season and the Spring Game, it’s not a huge surprise to see Johnson leading the way. His speed should be a huge asset to offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense. Virginia Tech transfer Trey Edmunds should also see a significant amount of time in the backfield, especially with Brown on the sideline.
- Wide receiver is also very interesting because senior Levern Jacobs is listed as a backup behind Malcolm Culmer. Jacobs has led Maryland in receiving two of the last three seasons. DeAndre Lane was also listed as a starter due to his emergence during camp. Freshman Tino Ellis was listed behind starter D.J. Moore, which came as a bit of a surprise. Ellis was also listed as a backup cornerback behind starter Alvin Hill.
- Derrick Hayward was listed as the co-starter at tight end along with Avery Edwards. Edwards showed promise in 2015 with a two-touchdown performance against South Florida early in the year.
- The offensive line isn’t too much of a surprise. Brendan Moore will start at center with Michael Dunn and Damian Prince being the tackles. Mike Minter and Maurice Shelton will start at the guard spots. JaJuan Dulaney ran with the starters during the early part of camp, so that may be viewed as a bit of a surprise.
- The defensive tackles are not at all what was expected. Expected starters David Shaw and Azubuike Ukandu are listed as backups behind Kingsley Opara and Cavon Walker. The Terps may be giving up a little bit of size, but they could make up for it in the athleticism department.
- Shane Cockerille is listed as the co-starter at the “WILL” linebacker spot. Shortly after Durkin arrived, Cockerille made yet another position switch and it clearly has paid dividends. Given his size and speed, Cockerille could make an impact on defense this season.
- Lastly, Will Likely is listed as the starting nickel corner in addition to co-starter at wide receiver. Durkin had hinted at Likely potentially playing offense once again in 2016. With the amount of athleticism that he possesses, Likely could find the end zone a few times this fall.