Danny O'Brien once looked as if he would shatter many of the career passing records at Maryland.
After playing his sophomore season under coach Randy Edsall, O'Brien is following a well-worn path out of College Park.
O'Brien, offensive tackle Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson intend to transfer, the school said in a release Monday. Since the end of the season, 12 players with eligibility have departed the program; since Edsall took over in January 2011, the total is 24.
O'Brien, though, is the easily biggest name yet to depart.
He was the 2010 ACC rookie of the year, throwing 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. But he struggled in since-deposed offensive coordinator Gary Crowton's system, throwing seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His season ended when he broke his left (non-throwing arm) in a Nov. 12 loss to Notre Dame.
"I'm disappointed by Danny's decision," Edsall said in a statement released by the school. "Danny told me that he's not committed to our program, that he's not 'all in.' I want what's best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well."
O'Brien is expected to graduate this spring; he would have two years of eligibility as a graduate student wherever he opts to continue his career.
His departure leaves C.J. Brown as the only scholarship quarterback on Maryland's roster entering spring practice. Maryland also signed high school seniors Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe earlier this months to letters of intent.
O'Brien thrived as a redshirt freshman, taking over as Maryland's starter in the fourth game of the 2010 season. He threw for 2,438 yards while helping the Terps finish 9-4.
However, Maryland fired coach Ralph Friedgen shortly after former offensive coordinator James Franklin left to become the coach at Vanderbilt. Edsall was hired a few weeks later, with Crowton soon following with a spread offense.
It proved an abysmal fit, and O'Brien was benched during a 21-16 loss at Georgia Tech on Oct. 8. He regained the starting job when Brown was injured two weeks later, and the pair split time until O'Brien suffered his broken arm and missed the final two games.
O'Brien finished his Maryland career with 4,086 yards (eighth in school history) and 29 touchdown passes (fifth).
Garcia's loss also is a crucial blow. He started all 12 games last season at left tackle and has two years of eligibility remaining. He joins R.J. Dill, a three-year starter at tackle who will play his final season at Rutgers, as offensive line starters departing with eligibility left.
Neither of Maryland's listed backups at tackle — rising junior Nick Klemm or rising sophomore Jake Wheeler — has started a college game. The Terps also have Justin Gilbert, who started three games at left tackle in 2010 before suffering a knee injury. He started at guard late last season and could be moved back to tackle.
Rowson, a converted defensive back, started four games at linebacker last season in place of the injured Kenny Tate. Edsall said in a statement Rowson wanted to play defensive back and that the staff still viewed him as a linebacker.
The 12 players who left Maryland's program owned a combined 48 starts last season — 12 each for Dill and Garcia, seven each for O'Brien and defensive end David Mackall, six for safety Titus Till and four for Rowson.
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