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The road to 85

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Football coaches, like many others in their line of work, have to be good at balancing acts.

Never is that more obvious than in the eternal juggle of scholarships.

With 85 ‘ships at the ready, it’s easy to overbook at the inn. Of course, the vagaries of academics and playing time and the rest can slip you below the scholarship limit in no time.

On signing day, Maryland was on the hook for 92 scholarships. Here’s how the Terps trimmed that number by eight before moving back up to the maximum on Friday (some dates are exact; others are approximate).

APR. 22: Coach Ralph Friedgen announces linebacker Chris Clinton was dismissed from the team. Down to 91.

JUNE 9: Athletic department spokesman confirms tailback Pha’Terrell Washington is academically ineligible. Down to 90.

MID-TO-LATE JUNE: Senior defensive tackle Dean Muhtadi is placed on scholarship. Up to 91.

LATE JUNE: Maryland football media guide is sent to the printers. Wide receiver Stephen Smalls and linebacker Brian Whitmore are not listed on the roster. Do the math. Smalls lands at Rhode Island, while Whitmore winds up at Delaware State. Down to 89.

JULY 10:Baltimore Sun reports signee Cody Blue will attend Fork Union Military Academy. Down to 88.

JULY 14: Maryland confirms it has released signee Tyler Bass from his scholarship. The quarterback lands at Memphis in the next few days. Down to 87.

JULY 16: Baltimore Sun reports signee Eteyen Edet will attend Milford Academy. Down to 86.

JULY 21: Friedgen says at ACC Kickoff that it is unlikely signee Zach Kerr will qualify. He ultimately lands at Fork Union. This seems as good a date to make this semi-finalized. Down to 85.

LATE JULY: Offensive lineman Evan Eastburn decides to transfer. He quickly lands at Colorado. This bit of news is confirmed by the time camp starts on Aug. 4. Down to 84.

AUG. 22: Senior nose tackle Bemi Otulaja is placed on scholarship. Back up to 85.

That’s a lot of flux.

In case anyone is wondering about my unofficial numbers, there are 22 seniors, 14 juniors, 15 sophomores, 18 redshirt freshmen and 16 true freshmen on scholarship.

The breakdown by unit: Offensive line (16), Defensive back (14), defensive line (13), wide receiver (12), linebacker (11), running back (7), tight end (6), quarterback (4), kicker (1), punter (1).

Former walk-ons now on scholarship: Rick Costa, Moise Fokou, Dean Muhtadi, Bemi Otulaja.

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