NCAA Football: Howard at Maryland articlefeature--terps-football

Terps Football: 2017 Season Preview – The Wide Receivers

Despite losing 4 of their top 5 wide receivers after last season, the Terrapins are still very strong at this position heading into 2017. While they are relying heavily on contributions from a few new faces, there are a number of very talented young pass-catchers who fill out the depth chart. With the passing game sure to improve over last year, these players will become even more important for Maryland’s offense to have success.

This article is part of a series previewing the 2017 Maryland football season. You can find my projected depth chart here.

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

Moore-2

D.J. Moore (Junior)

2017 Projection: Starter (Split End)
2016 Statistics: 41 catches, 637 yds, 6 TD; 11 carries, 55 yds, 0 TD; 1/2 (50%), 21 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT; 15 kick returns, 334 yds, 0 TD

Moore has been an electric player for the Terrapins ever since he stepped foot into College Park in 2015. He was the team’s leading receiver last season, and was second only to Ty Johnson in all-purpose yards. He averaged over 15.5 yards per catch, and was a solid kickoff returner in the absence of William Likely III. He is an excellent all-around receiver, possessing both speed and reliable hands.

Moore will be Maryland’s starting Split End this season, which means he’ll work primarily in isolation against opposing defenses’ top cornerbacks. He will also carry the ball occasionally on jet sweeps and reverses. He and Johnson will be the primary skill players for this offense, and offensive coordinator Walt Bell will continue to find ways to get the ball into their hands.

Veii

Jacquille Veii (Redshirt Senior)

2017 Projection: Starter (Flanker)
2016 Statistics: Did Not Play

Veii returns to Maryland after spending the 2015 season at Towson, and sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations. He spent the first two years of his collegiate career in College Park, as both a running back and a wide receiver. However, after growing frustrated with former head coach Randy Edsall’s use of him, he transferred to Towson and became a full-time wideout. He comes to Maryland as a much more polished player, having added good route-running and hands skills to his always impressive speed.

I have projected Veii to serve as Maryland’s starting Flanker this season, which means he’ll work primarily on the outside across from Moore. In the past, Veii has been a slot receiver, but it seems that Bell likes him on the outside. However, I would fully expect him to get the ball on jet sweeps and reverses as well, and he may even line up in the backfield on occasion.

Taivon

Taivon Jacobs (Redshirt Senior)

2017 Projection: Starter (H-Back)
2016 Statistics: 1 tackle (0.0 for loss), 1 pass breakup

Jacobs missed the 2016 season due to injury, and was only able to see the field on special teams. He has been working very hard to get back however, and has been impressive in camp so far while wearing a no-contact jersey. Jacobs has struggled to see the field for a full season, and this is his final chance to showcase his skills in College Park.

I have projected Jacobs to serve as Maryland’s starting H-Back and Slot receiver this season. I had expected him to be the team’s Flanker, a role that he has played ever since he arrived in 2013. However, it seems that Bell likes him in the slot. He will be yet another versatile weapon for the Terrapins, and there’s a good chance that they’ll rotate these three starters between positions throughout the 2017 season.

Davenport

Jahrvis Davenport (Junior)

2017 Projection: Second-Team (Split End)
2016 Statistics: 1 catch, 2 yds, 0 TD

Davenport didn’t see much playing time last season, as Moore was on the field for the majority of the snaps for every game. He likely won’t see the field very much this season either, as long as Moore remains healthy.

I have projected Davenport to serve as Moore’s backup at Split End this season. While he is a bit undersized for the position, he uses the size that he does have very well.

Comma

Jayden Comma (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Second-Team (Flanker)
2016 Statistics (High School): 44 catches, 764 yds, 10 TD

Comma is one of the six wide recievers in Maryland’s 2017 recruiting class, and has a chance to make an immediate impact this season. He, like most of the other freshman wideouts, has excellent size at 6’2”, 205 lbs. It was clear that Bell wanted some bigger receivers at his disposal this season, and he went out and got them. He also spent most of his time searching in the state of Georgia, as all but 2 of them hail from the Peach State.

I have projected Comma to serve as Veii’s backup at Flanker this season. With Chris Jones apparently dealing with some knee issues, Comma will have to step up and contribute immediately.

Turner

DJ Turner (Sophomore)

2017 Projection: Second-Team (H-Back)
2016 Statistics: 2 catches, 19 yds, 0 TD; 1 carry, 4 yds, 0 TD

Turner is one of the young players on this team that every Maryland fan should have their eyes on. While he was blocked on the depth chart by players like DeAndre Lane and Teldrick Morgan last season, he has a chance to receive a much bigger chunk of playing time this season. He has excellent ball-skills, and is a perfect fit in the slot for Bell’s offense. He had an electric performance in Maryland’s Red-White Spring Game last month, catching 6 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.

I have projected Turner to serve as Jacobs’ backup at H-Back this season. Bell likes to rotate his slot guys in and out of games due to their heavy workload, so Turner will see the field a lot this season. He’ll lineup both in the slot and in the backfield, and will receive the ball in a lot of different ways. This year will be crucial for him before he likely takes over the starting job in 2018.

Nelson

Sean Nelson (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Third-Team (Split End)
2016 Statistics (High School): 39 catches, 543 yds, 9 TD

Nelson is another of the freshman wideouts from Georgia in Maryland’s 2017 recruiting class, and he also stands tall at 6’2”, 180 lbs. He is less physical than Comma, but is leaner and a bit faster.

I have projected Nelson to serve as the team’s third-string Split End this season. While he may be down on the depth chart a bit, he could potentially unseat Davenport and get some playing time this season.

Cornwell

Michael Cornwell (Junior)

2017 Projection: Third-Team (Flanker)
2016 Statistics: Did Not Play

Cornwell saw his first game action last season on special teams, and it’s unlikely that he’ll see the field as a wide receiver this year.

I have projected Cornwell to serve as the team’s third-string Flanker this season.

Capehart

Tahj Capehart (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Third-Team (H-Back)
2016 Statistics (High School): 19 catches, 256 yds, 2 TD; 3 carries, 10 yds, 0 TD; 6 punt returns, 24 yds, 0 TD

Capehart was a National Signing Day steal for the Terrapins, as they grabbed Capehart away from Virginia Tech. He was a high school teammate of the Gaddy twins, who will be competing for jobs on Maryland’s defensive line this season.

I have projected Capehart to serve as the team’s third-string H-Back this season. He is a very versatile player, and may even wind up returning punts for the Terrapins. While he is blocked a bit on the depth chart by Jacobs and Turner, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him get some playing time as well.

Chris Jones (Redshirt Senior)

2017 Projection: Fourth-Team (Flanker)
2016 Statistics: Did Not Play

Jones did not play last season after transferring from Iowa Western Community College. While he was expected to play a bigger role this season, he seems to be dealing with some fairly serious knee issues. He may end up applying for a medical redshirt and attempting to come back in 2018.

I have projected Jones to serve as the team’s fourth-string Flanker. If fully healthy, he could be Veii’s primary backup.

Josh Bekoe (Senior)

2017 Projection: Fourth-Team (H-Back)
2016 Statistics: Did Not Play

Bekoe is a walk-on to Maryland’s roster, and is unlikely to see game action this season.

I have projected him to serve as the team’s fourth-string H-Back.

Browder

Jalen Browder (Freshman)

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

Browder is yet another incoming freshman wideout from Georgia with great size, at 6’3”, 185 lbs. He has very good speed, and will be a good fit at Split End for the Terrapins.

I have projected Browder to redshirt this season before competing for the Split End job next season. If Moore leaves early for the NFL, he could have a chance to start in 2018.

Carriere

Carlos Carriere (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Redshirt
2016 Statistics (High School): 44 catches, 771 yds, 13 TD

Carriere is the tallest of the freshman wideouts from Georgia, standing at 6’4”, 170 lbs. He will also be a good fit at Split End in Bell’s offense, and has a chance to develop into a red zone weapon.

I have projected Carriere to redshirt this season.

Jarrell

MJ Jarrell (Freshman)

2017 Projection: Redshirt
2016 Statistics (High School): 38 catches, 496 yds, 3 TD; 57 carries, 382 yds, 2 TD; 2/5 (40%), 22 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT; 16 kick returns, 480 yds, 2 TD

Jarrell is one of the 2 freshman wide receivers not from the state of Georgia, but comes from just south in Florida. He had an excellent high school career, doing a little bit of everything for the Timber Creek Wolves.

I have projected Jarrell to redshirt this season. He could find a home at either the Flanker or H-Back positions, so it will be interesting to see where Bell finds room for him on his depth chart next season.

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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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