The Maryland football team was one of the more productive running teams in all of the Big Ten this past season.
It should be a plentiful position once again in 2017 with the amount of talent returning.
As a team, the Terrapins rushed for 4.9 yards-per-carry, which was second in the Big Ten to only Ohio State. Maryland’s 2,594 yards were also good for fourth in the conference.
Ty Johnson was the first Maryland running back since Da’Rel Scott (2008) to reach the 1,000 rushing yard plateau. He was able to achieve the feat with only 110 carries.
Johnson had a knack for making big plays happen in 2016. Whether it was on a screen or on the ground, the former Fort Hill (Md.) star displayed his quickness on multiple long touchdown runs.
The sophomore tailback had touchdowns runs of 66, 62, 48, 30, 21, and eight yards throughout the 2016 season. He also took a 66-yard screen pass to the house against Penn State.
Johnson was able to accomplish all of that while only recording double-digit carries in three games. He ended up averaging 9.13 yards-per-carry on the season, which broke Ed Modzelewski’s record of 7.38 from the 1951 campaign.
Heading into next season, Johnson will likely be the starter in the backfield.
However, the Terps will also be getting back a very talented young back that had a stellar freshman campaign.
Lorenzo Harrison put together a phenomenal season before getting suspended in November. The former DeMatha (Md.) star was suspended for the final four games after being involved in a B.B. gun incident that took place on campus.
The school announced that Harrison and teammate D.J. Turner would be back for spring workouts.
Harrison totaled 88 carries for 633 yards and five touchdowns in eight games in 2016. He also averaged 7.2 yards-per-carry and had the same amount of games with double-digit carries as Johnson.
The freshman’s best performance came against Michigan State when he rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. It was the only game in which Harrison surpassed the century mark on the ground.
Harrison displayed his quickness on several occasions, but he also showed how strong he is for a smaller back.
For example, in the game against the Spartans, Harrison rushed for an eight-yard touchdown. When he got to the two-yard line, he had to power his way through a host of Michigan State defenders to get into the end zone.
The former Stag is the perfect combination of speed and strength, despite not being the biggest guy in the world at 5’8. His tenacity really helps him to fight for those extra yards.
The Maryland football program definitely has a very talented duo that will be on display next season. Having a full year of Harrison and Johnson together will be huge for the offense.
There should be more carries to go around because Wes Brown, Trey Edmunds, and Kenneth Goins Jr. will all be gone.
Much like the 2016 season, 2017 should be another campaign where Maryland football thrives on the ground.