Wide Receiver Preview: Deon Long
Image Credit: Omaha World-Herald
2012 Statistics (Iowa Western Community College): 100 catches, 1626 yards, 16.3 YPC, 25 TDs
Deon Long has jumped around quite a bit since his time at Dunbar High School in Baltimore, MD. He never lasted long at any of his stops, but Terps fans are hoping that the electrifying junior receiver will be able to settle down close to home in College Park for the next two seasons. Alongside Stefon Diggs, he will be the second part of what could be one of the best pairs of receivers in the country this season.
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Deon Long’s commitment to Maryland went fairly unnoticed at first. At the time, Illinois was the only other school to offer him a scholarship. He was thought to be a bit unstable, always unhappy with wherever he was. After graduating from Dunbar High School in 2009, he committed to West Virginia where he would redshirt his first season. After that, he moved on to Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA. From there, he was recruited by current Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to play for New Mexico. He spent one season out west with the Lobos before moving on once again to play for Iowa Western Community College.
Long put up his best numbers of his career with Iowa Western Community College. He racked up over 1,600 yards receiving for a team that won the NJCAA National Championship last season. He put up these numbers despite playing only two fourth quarters all season long. According to head coach Mike Strohmeier, he was taken out at halftime for many games due to huge leads. They were ranked as the best junior college football team in the country, and Long was their star. The Maryland coaching staff took notice, and quickly gained his commitment on June 27, 2012.
A few months after Deon Long committed to Maryland, analysts began ranking the best transfer prospects that would be eligible in 2013. He was consistently ranked in the top echelon of those prospects, and is widely thought of as the best wide receiver to transfer in 2013. He is the first 5-star junior college transfer since QB Cam Newton transferred to Auburn in 2010. Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell said that when he graduates from Maryland, Deon Long will be “an NFL first-round talent.”
With Stefon Diggs in the slot, and Deon Long split out wide, it’s going to be very tough for opposing defenses to contain both star receivers. And even if they are able to handle Diggs and Long, the Terps have plenty of other quality talent at wide receiver to use. As is the case with everything surrounding this Maryland offense, the key to getting the most out of Diggs and Long is going to be the offensive line. C.J. Brown is going to need time to get the ball to his playmakers, and if he can get that time then Diggs and Long will shine. All signs indicate that Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are two of the best wide receivers in the country. And unfortunately for the defenses of the ACC and Big Ten, they’re on the same team.