Around this time last year, the biggest thing surrounding Maryland’s football program was the mass exodus that followed a 2-10 season.
(That and the hiring of Mike Locksley as offensive coordinator, it should be noted)
The numbers were significant, and by the time August rolled around there were 16 scholarship players with eligibility remaining who were no longer on the roster in College Park. There were 67 scholarship players who could have returned. That’s a lot.
As it turned out, Maryland had some predictable depth issues (notably at quarterback) as it went 4-8. And when a pair of players departed the program earlier this month, it didn’t take long before the question arose if it was a redux of last year.
(For what it’s worth, some attrition occurs every year; there were eight players gone at this point last year. There’s a more routine feel to the pair of departures so far this offseason).
In any case, it was easy to point to all the departing players as an issue, and on some levels it was. But what sort of impact did they make on the field this year is not something that generated a whole lot of attention beyond one really notable player (quarterback Danny O’Brien).
Time to change that:
TB D.J. Adams: The junior landed at Portland State, where he led the Vikings (3-8) in rushing and scoring. Adams had 967 yards and 12 touchdowns on 164 carries, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Adams started four games and managed four 100-yard rushing days on the season.
DL Cody Blue: Not certain if Blue landed anywhere this season.
WR Adrian Coxson: The Baltimore product landed at Stony Brook, where he had 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown while playing in all 13 games for the run-heavy Seawolves (589 rushes, 216 passes as a team). Coxson also had seven kickoff returns for 88 yards.
OL Pete DeSouza: Less than two years after breaking both legs in a scooter accident, DeSouza opted to end his career and wound up helping this year’s Maryland team as a student assistant.
T R.J. Dill: The three-year starter transferred to Rutgers as a graduate student and started all 12 games at right tackle for the Scarlet Knights. He’ll play in the East-West Shrine Game next month in St. Petersburg, Fla.
DE Ian Evans: Evans departed College Park a day into preseason practice; whereabouts unknown this fall.
LB Lukas Foreman: The redshirt freshman was suspended for a year in May and was gone from the program by the time mid-July arrived.
T Max Garcia: Maybe Maryland’s biggest loss didn’t play a down this year. Garcia landed at Florida, where he sat out in accordance with the NCAA’s transfer rules.
CB Avery Graham: The speedster had four assisted tackles in four games for Stony Brook.
DB Desmond Kearse: Once an intriguing possibility in former coordinator Don Brown’s system, Kearse landed at Dean Junior College in Massachusetts and had 13 tackles (three for loss) and two sacks in nine games while playing linebacker.
DE David Mackall: The erstwhile starting defensive lineman in College Park landed at Delaware and missed the season because of injury.
FB Rahsaan Moore: The local product landed at Old Dominion and left almost as quickly.
QB Danny O’Brien: The 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year earned the Badgers’ starting quarterback job in the preseason but eventually lost it to Joel Stave. O’Brien completed 52 of 86 passes 523 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in seven games (three starts).
DB Mario Rowson: Moved on to Delaware but did not play this season.
S Titus Till: After transferring to James Madison, Till started nine games for the Dukes (7-4) and had 39 tackles (2.5 for loss) and 1.5 sacks.
RB Jeremiah Wilson: The defensive back-turned-tailback returned to defense at James Madison, where he appeared in eight games (one start) and had nine tackles (one for loss). He also had four kickoff returns for 95 yards.
In retrospect, Maryland’s biggest losses were eminently predictable. Dill had exactly the sort of season at Rutgers that was expected, and Garcia would have possibly allowed Maryland to redshirt Mike Madaras (instead of starting the true freshman for the final two-thirds of the season).
O’Brien struggled at Wisconsin and probably would not have been the greatest fit in Locksley’s offense, but Maryland really could have used him anyway considering C.J. Brown’s preseason knee injury (not to mention the Terps’ three additional season-ending injuries). Adams had a solid year once he was freed to head to the West Coast.
At the same time, a fair number of the transfers either didn’t resurface or contributed sparingly in their new homes. Maryland lost enough depth to warrant the scrutiny it received, but ultimately didn’t bid farewell to as much 2012 production as it appeared it would as the exodus unfolded after the 2011 season.