David Mackall didn’t become a probable starter at Maryland overnight. And for that, the defensive end is a bit wiser.
The once-heralded prospect who spent one year at a prep school and another as Alex Wujciak’s understudy could emerge as a vital variable this fall for the Terrapins, with patience as well as talent working in his favor.
“Rushing something is not the best thing in D-1 football, because when you rush something you get frustrated and when you get frustrated, you can’t play to your best,” Mackall said.
The one thing he might try to hurry is reaching quarterbacks throughout the looming season. Maryland has struggled to generate a steady pass rush from its defensive ends in recent years for a variety of reasons.
Mackall could change that trend, particularly with how the Terps intend to play starting with their Labor Day opener against Miami. One thing’s for certain: He has a chance to be noticed.
“I feel like the way our defense is schematically, depending on how I play, it can open a lot of things up and also it can mess a lot of things up,” Mackall said.
The sophomore said last week he is 235 pounds. That’s perhaps a little small for an end but about what would be expected of a player who figured he would play linebacker at the college level.
Mackall played middle linebacker last season, though time there was scant with Wujciak manning the position. So former defensive coordinator Don Brown slid Mackall into a pass-rushing role in speciality packages.
In his limited time, Mackall managed to collect three sacks and solidify opinions he was an energetic guy with a habit of finding the ball.
“I love Mackall - ever since he got here,” linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said. “He’s got a motor on him. I tell him all the time, just keep on going. The other thing I tell him is nobody can block you. He’s definitely going to have a big year, because he cannot be blocked.”
A full spring and preseason camp allowed Mackall to hone his ability to chase quarterbacks. Along the way, he discovered he possesses plenty of natural skills, such as a penchant for dipping his shoulders and using his hands effectively.
His greatest asset, though, is hardly a surprise.
“I’ve noticed the average tackle can’t block me because of my speed,” Mackall said. “Just having a whole bunch of different pass-rushing abilities in my arsenal, I’ve noticed I can change it up a lot. Changing it up is going to be my strength.”
Mackall joins a defensive line featuring a pair of effective incumbent tackles, juniors A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano. Viewed as an impact player when he first committed to Maryland, Mackall could have the opportunity to make a significant difference in his first year at end.
And that would be well worth the wait for the Baltimore product.