A winner in that system was wide receiver Adrian Cannon, who requested No. 7 from his high school days during the recruiting process and was told to get in line. J.P. Humber already had it, and a pair of players already in the program - linebacker Moise Fokou and wideout Danny Oquendo - had their eyes on it, too.
But Humber graduated and Fokou (48) and Oquendo (17) grew either to appreciate or tolerate their numbers, and Cannon wound up a happy man last season.
“No. 7, that’s my grandma’s favorite number,” Cannon says. “That’s how it started off, and not too many receivers wear No. 7, so it’s different. I just kept it, and to this day I love it.”
The sophomore’s tale is far from the only offbeat story among the Terps. When he was in high school, right tackle Dane Randolph wore a pair of turf shoes once owned by former Baltimore Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden. After Randolph switched to offense after a season at Maryland, he assumed Ogden’s No. 75.
Wide receiver LaQuan Williams took over No. 3 this season, an attempt to continue a tradition of Baltimore products wearing the digit. Earlier this decade, Rob Abiamiri (2001-04) and Christian Varner (2005-07) had the number.
Safety Terrell Skinner has bounced from 23 to 85 to 10 to 1 thanks to seniority and a position switch. Then there’s cornerback Kevin Barnes, who can be spotted with a big No. 2 chain dangling from his neck.
“In my opinion, the two greatest college corners of all time were Deion Sanders and Charles Woodson,” Barnes says. “That’s basically where I got it. I want to be the next one.”
But not everyone is so fortunate. Walk-on linebacker Alex Schultz wore No. 45 the last two seasons. In an attempt to avoid a duplicate jersey (tight end Tommy Galt also wears 45), Ohringer bumped him up to 52 before camp.
It was a disappointment to Schultz, who wanted to finish his career in the same number he started. Plus, his family already owned plenty of No. 45 apparel that suddenly lost some luster.
“I wasn’t really happy about it at first,” Schultz says. “I think 52 looks like a real awkward number, and I was really getting hooked on 45. Of course, everybody in my family [knows me as] 45. I have a really big family, so I had to tell a lot of people about it.”
At least 52 is still indicative of Schultz’s position. Freshman Masengo Kabongo received an even harsher welcome to the season when he arrived to discover he didn’t have a number in the 90s - the long-time bastion of the defensive line.
Instead, he was handed No. 65.
“Actually, that’s probably the last number I would want to have,” Kabongo says. “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.”
Perhaps he could try to swing a deal. That was linebacker Chase Bullock’s strategy, who wore 42 the last four seasons even as he tried to plot a way to secure his high school number, 44.
Former Terps tailback Lance Ball, though, wouldn’t budge - despite the occasional offer of $100 or $200.