Taking the bitter with the sweet

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High on the list of phrases sure to grab attention this season at Maryland is “left with holes in the program.”

This got addressed enough earlier this month with this offensive line story, and there’s really no reason to revisit that particular issue. But it did touch on the 2006 recruiting class, which had some useful pieces but also quite a few duds.

There’s also semi-consistent references to how much coach Ralph Friedgen likes his 2008 recruiting haul – a 16-man haul making significant contributions.

Part of the reason (but not nearly all) that the ‘08 guys are contributing so much is because of how relatively barren that ‘06 group was. In fact, nine of the 16 true freshmen in 2008 have started at least one game. Only seven of the 17 who made it to College Park in 2006 have done the same.

This is what former Maryland special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski would have called taking the bitter with the sweet.

Don’t believe it? How about this rundown, starting with the 2008 class:

7: A.J. Francis

6: Demetrius Hartsfield

5: Cameron Chism, Davin Meggett

3: R.J. Dill, Kenny Tate

2: Kerry Boykins

1: Matt Furstenburg, Justin Lewis

0: Devonte Campbell, Kevin Dorsey, Gary Douglas, Justin Gilbert, Masengo Kabongo, Carl Russell, Joe Vellano

33 total starts

And now, for 2006:

21: Cory Jackson

20: Alex Wujciak

12: Da’Rel Scott

8: Adrian Moten, LaQuan Williams

7: Adrian Cannon

1: Emani Lee-Odai

0: Chris Clinton, Evan Eastburn, Drew Gloster, Morgan Green, Brandon Jackson-Mills, Jeremy Ricker, Stephen Smalls, Taji Thornton, Pha’Terrell Washington, Brian Whitmore

77 total starts

Already, even the guys who haven’t started from the 2008 class have found ways to contribute (Gilbert on the field goal unit, Russell and Vellano as reserves, Dorsey as a special teams ace). Seven players from the 2006 group were out of the program within two years of arriving.

It should be noted that total starts isn’t an entirely fair metric – a guy like Moten has meant much more than the numbers imply.

But it doesn’t look like the Terps whiffed on much (if anything) in their 2008 class. They just happen to be finding out for sure in part because of mistakes a couple years earlier.

Patrick Stevens

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