Check out today’s dead-tree edition story on Maryland guard Andrew Gonnella, who was recently awarded a scholarship after walking on two seasons ago.
Gonnella is the nephew of former Maryland All-America lineman J.D. Maarleveld, whose position coach back in the 1980s was one Ralph Friedgen.
Naturally, Gonnella received some advice as to how the experience would be once he arrived in College Park.
“He told me how it was going to be,” Gonnella said. “He said it wasn’t going to be easy. [Strength coach Dwight Galt] always tells me I’m a self-made athlete. I always lacked a little bit in the natural athleticism. I knew I was going to have to buckle down and work hard.”
The family ties also created an appreciation of the program’s past.
Maarleveld lettered on two ACC title teams in the 1980s, and happened to have been part of one of the most famous moments in program history.
“He made me watch the Miami game [from 1984],” Gonnella said. “He has a special edition dvd, a great comeback. He’d point things out to me. He played with Kevin Glover, who is our character education coach here, and he’d say ‘Watch his feet, he has the highest motor ever. He never stops moving his feet.’”
The same might be said of Gonnella, whose work ethic has drawn attention around the program for more than a year.
“He’s a very hyper kid,” Friedgen said. “The thing I worry about him with is he hyperventilates. I see him in the huddle sometimes gasping for air and he says ‘I’ll be all right.’ [In Sunday’s scrimmage,] the effort he gave was phenomenal. He’s really an effort guy. I’m really proud of the kid. He’s such a competitor and works so darn hard.”