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Terps Football: 2017 Season Preview – The Offensive Guards

Last week, we took a look at Maryland’s offensive tackles and talked about how the offensive line as a whole has been slowly building itself into a very talented unit. This season, the line will be led by a new coach, as Tyler Bowen (a former Maryland lineman himself) will replace Dave Borbely, who has moved into a special assistant role. Early reports on Bowen are excellent, and as is the case with most of head coach DJ Durkin’s assistants, he is young and extremely energetic. At guard, Bowen will be replacing both of the players who started there in 2016.

(Discuss this article on the BSL Message Board here.)

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Sean Christie (Redshirt Junior)

2017 Projection: Starter (Left Guard)
2016 Statistics: 13 games played (0 starts)

Christie saw game action in every game that the Terrapins played last season, but the large majority of it came on special teams. With Mike Minter’s departure from football, a hole was opened up at left guard and it looks like Christie has locked down the position for Maryland this season. He’s a versatile lineman who can play both tackle and guard.

I have projected Christie to start at left guard for the Terrapins in 2017. By all accounts, it seems as though he has the job locked down heading into fall camp. He is the most experienced guard on the roster, and will have a chance to make a big impact in his final two years in College Park.

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Terrance Davis (Sophomore)

2017 Projection: Starter (Right Guard)
2016 Statistics: 13 games played (9 starts)

Davis burst onto the scene as a true freshman last season, getting playing time in all 13 games and starting after starter Maurice Shelton suffered a season-ending injury. It’s extremely rare for a true freshman to get any playing time on the offensive line, much less starts. However, Davis is an immensely talented young man, and came to College Park ready to play last fall.

I have projected Davis to start at right guard for Maryland this season. Like Christie, he seems to have this job locked down after performing very well there last year. He will need to work on his pass protection, but his run blocking abilities were on full display in 2016.

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Ellis McKennie (Redshirt Sophomore)

2017 Projection: Second-Team (Left Guard)
2016 Statistics: 13 games played (0 starts)

McKennie is in his third year with the program after coming to Maryland as a very highly-touted recruit in 2015. He saw playing time in every game last season, primarily on special teams. He hails from the powerhouse McDonough School in Baltimore County, and is a two-time MIAA State Champion.

I have projected McKennie to serve as Christie’s backup at left guard this season, however he may be given the opportunity to continue competing for the starting job during the fall.

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Richard Merritt (Redshirt Freshman)

2017 Projection: Second-Team (Right Guard)
2016 Statistics: Redshirted

Merritt came to College Park last season as a consensus 4-star recruit out of nearby Archbishop Carroll High School. He is an enormous young man, standing 6’5” and weighing in at over 360 pounds. Most recruiting agencies ranked him as the 4th-best player in the state of Maryland coming out of high school.

I have projected Merritt to serve as Davis’ backup at right guard this season. After redshirting last season, he will have the opportunity to further his development this year, and may have a chance to get into the offensive line rotation if he impresses the coaches during fall camp.

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Marcus Minor (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Redshirt
2016 Statistics (High School): N/A

Minor is the lone offensive guard in Durkin’s 2017 recruiting class, and he’s a good one. He is a consensus 4-star recruit out of DeMatha Catholic High School, and was ranked as one of the best players in the state of Maryland. ESPN ranked him as a member of their 300-best recruits in the country. He chose Maryland over offers from Auburn, Florida, Penn State, Tennessee, and many others.

I have projected Minor to redshirt during his true freshman season. There is plenty of talent above him on the depth chart, as you can see. Since he won’t be arriving in College Park until the fall, a redshirt year would allow him to develop before competing for playing time next season.

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Written by Zack Kiesel
4 months ago
Terps Football,

Zack Kiesel

Zack is working towards a career in law and politics. The Owings Mills native focuses most of his efforts on Maryland Football recruiting and individual coach and player pieces; but also covers Terps Basketball. He has established relationships with Big Ten beat reporters across the conference, which he utilizes in his game previews. Now a Sr. Terps Analyst for BSL, Zack can be reached at: [email protected]

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