Terps Football: Who Can Contribute in 2017?
With National Signing Day just over a month away, the Maryland Terrapins boast one of the better recruiting classes in the country. Scout ranks their 2017 class as the 12th-best in the nation, Rivals ranks it as the 14th-best, 247Sports ranks it as the 17th-best, and ESPN ranks it as the 20th-best. But, of the recruits that Maryland has received a verbal commitment from, who will be able to make an immediate impact on the field in 2017? Here are 4 players who will have a chance to win a starting job at some of the team’s biggest positions of need next season.
CB Deon Jones
Jones is a 4-star cornerback from Potomac High School (Oxon Hill, MD), and is the highest-rated recruit in Maryland’s 2017 class by 247Sports. He is a tall, lanky player who stands at 6-foot-1, and fits head coach DJ Durkin’s preference for larger, more physical cornerbacks. He is ranked as one of the best players in the state of Maryland, and as one of the better cornerbacks in the country. With the departures of William Likely III and Alvin Hill, Jones will fill an immediate position of need for the Terrapins. I have projected him to serve as RaVon Davis’ backup at boundary cornerback, but he could easily grab a starting job on defensive coordinator Andy Buh’s defense.
DT Cam Spence
Spence is a 4-star defensive tackle from St. John’s College High School (Washington, DC), and is Maryland’s top defensive line recruit in their 2017 class. He is a big young man, weighing in at 315 pounds. He is ranked as one of the best recruits in Washington, DC and as one of the better defensive tackles in the country. The Terrapins’ run defense was very inconsistent in 2016, and with the departures of interior defensive linemen Cavon Walker and Azubuike Ukandu, there ought to be plenty of opportunities for young players like Spence to make an immediate contribution. I have projected Spence to serve as Adam McLean’s backup at defensive tackle in 2017, but like Jones, he could easily win a starting job.
NT Breyon Gaddy
Gaddy is a 4-star nose tackle from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School (Virginia Beach, VA), and flipped his commitment (along with his twin brother Brandon) from Tennessee to Maryland earlier this month. He is a huge young man, weighing in at 335 pounds. He is ranked as one of the better recruits from the state of Virginia, and as one of the better defensive tackles in the country. While the twins are committed to Maryland, there are multiple reports that they could be leaving for Oregon or Florida. But if they were to stay in College Park, there would be ample opportunities for them to contribute immediately on Buh’s defensive line.
QB Kasim Hill
Hill is a 4-star quarterback from St. John’s College High School (Washington, DC), and is the gem of Maryland’s 2017 class. He is ranked as one of the best recruits from the state of Maryland, and as one of the better pro-style quarterbacks in the country. His skills as a passer are very impressive for a high schooler, and he ought to be very fun to watch in offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread offense. While many believe that he can make an immediate impact on the field in 2017, I have projected him to redshirt during his freshman season. It is very difficult for a quarterback to learn a brand new collegiate offense in just a few weeks, which is the amount of time that Hill will have when he arrives on campus in August. More likely than not, 2018 is the year that he will be contributing on the field for the Terrapins.