Will Likely was one of the most dynamic players that has ever come through College Park.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the former Maryland cornerback/kick returner signed with the New England Patriots on Monday.
Likely wasn’t selected during the 2017 NFL Draft, which took place in late April. The Terrapin cornerback tore his ACL in October after playing in just six games.
The former Belle Glade (Fla.) standout recorded 32 tackles (22 solo), three defended passes, a sack, and a forced fumble during that time. Likely returned right kickoffs for 219 yards, which was good for a 27.4 yards-per-return average.
Likely had a very decorated career at Maryland in which he made a tremendous impact in the secondary and in the return game.
His best season came as a sophomore in 2014 when he recorded 83 tackles (66 solo) and tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions (6). He also returned a punt and a kickoff back for a touchdown.
The biggest game of Likely’s career came in the 2015 season opener. In a 50-21 win over Richmond, Likely accumulated 233 punt return yards and a touchdown and in doing so, broke Nile Kinnick’s Big Ten record of 201 return yards that had stood since 1939.
Likely may be undersized, but that didn’t seem to be an issue throughout the bulk of his college career. He’ll figure to be a slot corner at the NFL level and it would make sense for the Patriots to utilize his dynamic abilities in the return game.
Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman handled the bulk of the return duties last year. Having Likely could give the pair of wide receivers from break from that area and Likely provides more playmaking ability.