Will Yeatman arrived at Maryland’s varsity team house Wednesday afternoon for a run-of-the-mill lacrosse fall ball practice.
This time next year, he might be on a nearby but very different field.
Yeatman, a former Notre Dame tight end and attackman who transferred to Maryland in January, said he sat in on a few meetings before the season. Yeatman said he has met with offensive coordinator James Franklin and tight ends coach Charles Bankins, and he hopes to attend more meetings once lacrosse’s fall season is over.
“I’ll try to familiarize myself more with the Maryland offense and hopefully be more comfortable with that offense and, by the time next fall rolls around, be able to go right into the swing of things,” said Yeatman, who added he has met but not talked extensively with coach Ralph Friedgen.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder would have one year of eligibility remaining in football. He was ineligible to play for the Terps this year in accordance with NCAA guidelines that mandate football transfers sit out a season. Yeatman played in three games last year at Notre Dame.
Yeatman said he has yet to have deep discussions but indicated he hopes to play in the spring and then jump into football’s offseason workout program as soon as lacrosse season is over.
Friedgen said he would be open to adding Yeatman to the program, assuming the Terps have an extra scholarship available. Yeatman is on scholarship for lacrosse, and he would count against Maryland’s 85-man limit for football if he played both at the same time.
“He came up, and I met him,” Friedgen said. “He’s a good-looking kid. I remember when we recruited him out of San Diego. If he wanted to do that, I would be receptive to it. It just depends on what the scholarship situation was at that time, too.”
The Terrapins’ tight ends, typically a strength, took on a committee look this season. Senior Tommy Galt started the first two games, and redshirt freshman Matt Furstenburg also started the opener against California. Sophomore Lansford Watson played in the opener, and redshirt freshman Devonte Campbell made his Maryland debut in Saturday’s overtime defeat of James Madison.
Yeatman played parts of three seasons at Notre Dame, catching eight passes for 43 yards. He was a top-40 tight end according to Rivals.com and Scout.com when he signed with the Fighting Irish in 2006.
He left Notre Dame after two off-field incidents and some ensuing self-evaluation. In January 2008, he was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence. In September 2008, he was suspended after he was arrested for underage drinking. No charges were filed in that incident.
Yeatman frequently said last spring that he soon realized if he was to be happy, he would need to see a significant change in his life. That meant a transfer to Maryland, where in 14 games he had 13 goals and 15 assists last spring.
But he never closed the door on football - and got wistful when the sport got under way in August. This year is only the second time since Yeatman was in second grade that he isn’t playing football.
“It’s a jarring time for any football player’s season, but it’s certainly something when you’re not there, you realize how much you miss the game,” Yeatman said. “I’m excited to be a part of that next season for the University of Maryland and be part of a different program and see what I can do to help out the team there.”
Yeatman, though, said the bulk of his attention remains with lacrosse through the spring.
“I’ve been pretty content with playing lacrosse at the University of Maryland, but I certainly do want to play football here as well,” Yeatman said. “I hope that next fall that opportunity is certainly open for me.”