Part of a position-by-position look at Maryland football this spring
Running down Maryland’s wide receivers …
Starters returning (1): WR Kevin Dorsey (45 receptions, 573 yards, 3 TD, 10 starts)
Other notable returnees: WR Kerry Boykins (37 receptions, 430 yards, 5 starts), WR Marcus Leak (12 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD, 2 starts), WR Devin Burns (1 reception, 17 yards)
Starters lost (1): WR Quintin McCree (40 receptions, 485 yards, 1 TD, 10 starts)
Other notable departures: WR Ronnie Tyler (graduation; 18 receptions, 158 yards, 1 TD, 5 starts), WR Tony Logan (graduation; 9 receptions, 68 yards, 3 starts), WR Adrian Coxson (transferred to Stony Brook; 4 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD)
Notable additions: WR Lavern Jacobs (enrolled in spring) WR Nigel King (ineligible/redshirted)
Career starts returning: 29 (Dorsey 11, Boykins 7, Leak 2)
Career starts lost: 27 (McCree 12, Tyler 12, Logan 3)
Given how Maryland stacked up its wide receivers, with Adrian Cannon, Emani Lee-Odai and LaQuan Williams set to be fifth-year seniors in 2010 and Tony Logan, Quintin McCree, Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler all poised to be fifth-year guys in 2011, it always made sense for 2012 to be a year when depth wasn’t exactly a blessing.
Not everything unfolded according to plan for the Terrapins. Smith worked himself into a star and departed for the NFL a year early, which isn’t a terrible development. McCree and Tyler were suspended for two games in September, and Tyler in particular never entirely recovered.
The insurance plan former coach Ralph Friedgen and offensive coordinator James Franklin acquired in August 2010 to help bridge the gap between veterans Kevin Dorsey and Kerry Boykins was Florida transfer Adrian Coxson, who played sparingly last year and moved on to Stony Brook in the offseason.
And so the Terrapins have questions beyond their seniors, just as expected. Nine wide receivers are on the roster this spring. Two are walk-ons. One (Lavern Jacobs) enrolled early after spending last fall at a prep school. Another (Nigel King) was ineligible in 2011 and redshirted. And yet another (Tyrek Cheeseboro) is coming off knee surgery and is not participating.
So what’s left? There’s Dorsey, who wasn’t quite the force Smith was but still played well in the first month of the season before an injury slowed him. There’s Boykins, a generally reliable sort willing to do what’s needed to help both on offense and special teams.
And beyond that … seldom-used converted quarterback Devin Burns and sophomore Marcus Leak, who emerged out of nowhere as a starter for two games last October, disappeared just as quickly and didn’t play in four November games.
The spring analysis, of course, does not include touted recruit Stefon Diggs, who Rivals.com ranked as the No. 2 wideout in this year’s class. Diggs, by dint of both talent and the absence of many established options, will undoubtedly have plenty of opportunities to etch out a role immediately.
Nonetheless, recruiting hype does not always translate into success —- especially immediate success, and especially at positions critically dependent upon several others to thrive.
As it stands, the receiver who will generate the most attention in College Park next season isn’t even with the Terps this spring. It wouldn’t hurt Maryland, though, if a couple inexperienced wideouts can place themselves in position to make a difference anyway. The more receiving options the better, particularly for a team that had few it could reliably count upon in 2011.
—- Patrick Stevens