The Washington Times - August 15, 2008, 02:49PM

Let the howls of protest commence in short order: Maryland could use more than a quarter of its 16 scholarship true freshmen this year.

The operating word there is could. That number might be as low as two. But chances are it will be three or even four.

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Here are the six most likely freshmen to earn playing time this fall, in order of probability at this juncture.

1. Davin Meggett. He’s going to play. Coach Ralph Friedgen pretty much acknowledged that today. The question is just how much. If Morgan Green isn’t ready to go, Meggett might have a chance to earn a portion of the backfield workload. Though he has much to learn, he’s impressed coaches with his ability to pick up a lot in a short amount of time.

2. Kenny Tate. He’s not at safety not to play. The reality is, it could be a bit of a recruiting boost for a well-regarded local product to make it into games quickly. And at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Tate simply looks different than the other guys in the secondary. If he gets to play, chances are fans will notice him very quickly.

3. A.J. Francis. This is partially based out of need, especially with defensive linemen dropping rapidly during camp. But Francis’ name keeps popping up, and he could factor into the mix at tackle before the season is out.

4a and 4b. Devonte Campbell and Matt Furstenberg. Both guys were in College Park for spring practice, and the tight end spot has Dan Gronkowski, Lansford Watson and Tommy Galt. But an opportunity could pop up if Maryland decides it wants to use an H-back in the way it utilized Jason Goode last year. Both could also redshirt.

5. Masengo Kabongo. He hasn’t been mentioned as much as Francis, but he’s still earned praise for his work during the first couple weeks of camp. It would probably be better in the long term if Maryland could redshirt him, but injuries along the defensive line might not allow that.

Patrick Stevens