The Washington Times - September 17, 2008, 02:17PM

Here’s another follow-up on the jersey numbers story from this morning. I’ll offer up a sampling of offensive players tomorrow morning.

But for now, it’s time for a run-through (some of which was covered in the dead-tree story) of why Maryland’s defensive players have their current numbers – and if they even chose them at all.

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* CB Kevin Barnes (No. 2): “In my opinion, the two greatest college corners of all time were Deion Sanders and Charles Woodson. That’s basically where I got it. I want to be the next one. … Originally, I wore 5 in high school, but I was a new guy. I thought about 2 would be a good fit.”

* S Jamari McCollough (No. 4): “I always wanted a single-digit number. It’s been my thing since high school. I think you stand out more when you have a single digit. When I was younger, all the superstars had single-digit numbers, so that’s something I adapted to.”

* CB Nolan Carroll (No. 14):Jamari McCollough got 4, and I wore 4 in high school and he got it before I did. I just wanted to have a number with 4 in it. Sam [Hollenbach]’s number, he had it, and it opened up, so I just decided to take it. I knew once [McCollough] had it, he wasn’t going to give it up. So I just said. ‘You can have it and I can work with this.’ It’s just a number.

* SS Jeff Allen (No. 29): “That was the my first number they gave me my freshman year, and I never really wanted to change it. I just wanted to make a name for No. 29. I never wanted to switch back and forth like a lot of guys do. They like to switch in their junior or senior year. I just wanted to keep my number”

* MLB Alex Wujciak (No. 33): “My dad wore No. 66 in college when he played at Notre Dame. I couldn’t wear 66 as a linebacker, so I just took half of his number. I knew it would be an available number so I tried to tell Ronnie O [equipment manager Ron Ohringer] as early as possible I wanted to make the switch. I actually asked to switch when I first got here. But he said ‘You’re a freshman, pay your dues.’”

* WLB Dave Philistin (No. 34): “That’s my pride and joy. That’s my jersey. I was 44 in high school, and now it’s a different chapter in my life and I take very much pride of 34. Previously, Steve Suter had it, and people told me I had a legacy to live up to at a different position. I’ve been trying to do that ever since.”

* DT Jeremy Navarre (No. 40): “I wanted 43. Even if I played D-end, I wanted 43 because that was my high school number. But it was taken, but I’d always played fullback so I had 40, and it kind of stuck. I switched to D-end, and now I’m kind of an odd number for a D-lineman. Four-zero. [As a defensive lineman], you’re always in the 90s. It’s unique.”

* LB Chase Bullock (No. 44): “In high school, that was the first number I wore playing football and I wanted to go back to it to bring me some luck this year. … I tried to bribe [former Terp Lance Ball] a couple times, but he wouldn’t give it up. … Multiple times. Every year, I’d bring it up to him.”

* LB Jeff Clement (No. 47): “Just a number they gave me. It’s what they gave me and I stuck to it.”

* SLB Moise Fokou (No. 48): “Came in here and was wearing 53. I was playing Will linebacker back when we had coach [Tim] Banks coaching the inside linebackersa. It was when D’Qwell [Jackson] and Will Kershaw were here, and they were 52 and 48. The next year, I was up at the Will spot and pretty much took Kershaw’s number from then and just kept it up … I’ve actually tried to change it to my old [high school] number, which was 7 or 3, but I figured I might as well keep it going. It’s given me a little bit of luck.”

* LB Alex Schultz (No. 52): “I really liked [45]. People always pick numbers because of idols they have. I liked Shawne Merriman, but I didnt pick that because of that. It was just given to me, but I like to stick with something. I don’t like changing up too much. When it becomes your identity, people look at me as 45. Coach Friedgen, he recognized me. He didn’t even know my name. He knew me as a number. He saw me wearing a scout team jersey and he’s like ‘Oh, I didn’t recognize you because you didn’t have the 45.’”

* DL Masengo Kabongo (No. 65): “Actually, that’s probably the last number I would want to have. I hate that number, but it was given to me so I’m wearing it. It could be the worst number a defensive lineman can possibly have.”

* NT Bemi Otulaja (No. 96): “96 is just the new me. My favorite football number is 56. To me, the pretty numbers, the first one could be whatever it wants to be, the next number has to be one higher, one lower or identical for me to want it. So 96 throws my logic out the window. It’s a chance for me to re-invent myself and play up to a new level. It’s not high school anymore, it’s not Marist anymore. It’s a totally new level.”

* DT Dean Muhtadi (No. 97): “I was really hoping I was going to get 97. It just seemed like a more athletic number. That’s what I am. I consider myself an athlete. I’m very pleased.”

Patrick Stevens