The Maryland football team had one of the deeper wide receiver groups in the Big Ten this past season.
In 2017, the position is going to look very different for the Terrapins.
Leading wideout D.J. Moore will return for his junior season. However, Maryland will lose Malcolm Culmer, Levern Jacobs, DeAndre Lane, and Teldrick Morgan to graduation this spring.
Moore finished the 2016 campaign with 41 receptions for 637 yards and six touchdowns. He nearly doubled his 2015 production and was one of the Terps’ biggest weapons.
In addition to Moore, Jacobs and Morgan were also very productive for Maryland. Morgan finished the season with 43 catches for 497 yards and four touchdowns while Jacobs caught 41 passes for 439 yards and two touchdowns.
The trio of wideouts gave quarterback Perry Hills plenty of options to choose from when he was healthy. Maryland ran the wide receiver screen game quite effectively throughout the season, which also relieved some of the pressure.
Moore will return and provide the same blinding speed that made him the top asset in 2016.
The question is: who will replace Jacobs and Morgan?
Aside from Culmer, Jacobs, Lane, and Morgan, the only other wideouts to catch passes this season were Jahvris Davenport and D.J. Turner. Davenport and Turner combined to catch just three passes for 21 yards.
Davenport didn’t see the field very much due to Morgan’s emergence on the roster. However, he’s produced before, so it’s not crazy to think he’ll see a huge bump in receptions next fall.
As a freshman in 2015, Davenport hauled in 11 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. His career highlights include recording seven receptions for 89 yards against Rutgers in the 2015 season finale and a 46-yard touchdown against West Virginia earlier in the year.
Davenport recorded nine of his 11 receptions in the final three games of the 2015 campaign.
The Florida native isn’t a incredibly quick wideout, but he is very strong. If you watch the touchdown against the Mountaineers, Davenport hauls in the reception and runs through a pair of tacklers on his way to paydirt.
Turner may to work his way back into coach D.J. Durkin’s good graces next season. Along with Lorenzo Harrison, he was suspended for the infamous B.B. gun incident on campus in November.
Both players will rejoin the team by the time spring practices roll around.
Turner is a very speedy wideout that could be used in a role similar to how Florida used Percy Harvin during his time in Gainesville. The former DeMatha (Md.) standout could line up in the backfield and still catch passes as a decoy of sorts.
Turner is the type of wideout that is likely going to make his living after the catch. Offensive coordinator Walt Bell used wide receiver screens with Moore quite a bit this past season, but Turner could be utilized in a similar fashion in 2017.
With depth likely being an issue, commits Carlos Carriere, Jayden Comma, and Sean Nelson could see the field as well.
It’s safe to say that training camp is going to be essential for Maryland in terms of the group of receivers. The coaching staff will have to see who sticks out and is ready for the Big Ten.
Regardless of what quarterback is under center, Moore is definitely going to be counted on more than ever to lead by example.