NFL Draft 2013 Preview: Maryland Prospects

Can Former Terp Tight End Matt Furstenburg Find a Landing Spot in the NFL?

Can Former Terp Tight End Matt Furstenburg Find a Landing Spot in the NFL?

Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.

Maryland‘s fortunes have been a bit down through the first two years of the Randy Edsall era, but the Terps are still able to churn out some NFL-caliber talent acquired by former head coach Ralph Friedgen. Unfortunately for them, these were some of the team’s biggest contributors and they’ll certainly leave some gaping holes on both sides of the ball. Recruiting is improving for the Terrapins with Mike Locksley back in the fold, but it’s still a gradual process to rebuild the necessary pipelines.

Matt Furstenburg, TE, Senior (Projected: Fifth Round)

Furstenburg comes into this draft as a bit of a wildcard, leaving scouts around the league a bit confused. His productivity as a receiver wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive during his four years (60 catches, six scores on his career), but I’d chalk a good deal of that up to the terrible quarterback situation at Maryland these past two seasons. While he has some of the physical tools to succeed (6’4″ and 242 pounds), there’s also concern he’s a bit undersized for the position and that it removes the effectiveness of his best skillset (run-blocking). But with some great receiving skills and a more-than-respectable 40-yard dash time (4.6), it’s doubtful teams will allow him to drop much further than the fifth round.

Joe Vellano, DT, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)

If Vellano fails to be drafted, he won’t be searching long for an employer, that’s for sure. I’d even add that the only reason he’s not higher up on draft boards is his history of various injuries during his collegiate career. Beyond that, it’s tough to just look past a defensive lineman with a quick first step and tireless work ethic who flirted with 100 tackles his junior season (unheard of). Vellano’s played various positions along the line (end, tackle, nose tackle), which certainly gives him a bit of a boost, but his size isn’t necessarily ideal for any of those positions, save maybe the nose tackle spot — and an undersized one at that. At 6’2″ and 306 pounds, he’ll need the right environment in order to thrive, and teams will need to be willing to make a several-year investment.

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National Signing Day 2013: ACC Team Recruiting Rankings

Matthew Thomas and Florida State Are the Class of the ACC's 2013 Recruiting Classes

Matthew Thomas and Florida State Are the Class of the ACC’s 2013 Recruiting Classes

Earlier today, we covered the ACC‘s top 15 recruits from National Signing Day. Now, we take a closer look at each team’s haul and how it stacks up against their conferencemates (plus Louisville), while also highlighting each school’s top recruit. Once again, we’ll be using ESPN’s rankings for consistency’s sake. Please don’t take that as us putting too much stock in these (or any) numbers, however.

1. Florida State Seminoles (22 commitments, 12 in ESPN300): FSU underwent a bit of a crisis a few weeks back, losing offensive coordinator James Coley to rival Miami, and possibly a ton of their recruits in the process. And yet, the collateral damage didn’t turn out all that bad. The ‘Noles still pulled down a boatload of top recruits from all across the south (especially Florida), filling most needs on both sides of the ball. This team will be forced to reload a bit in 2013, and this class helps them do that — most notably at linebacker, with five commits at the position. Top Recruit: Matthew Thomas, OLB (No. 6 overall, Grade: 90)

2. Clemson Tigers (23 commitments, 10 in ESPN300): Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney continued his recruiting hot streak, scoring another strong class packed with athletic defenders as he and D-coordinator Brent Venables fix this squad’s biggest weakness. While he wasn’t the most heralded member of the star-studded class, New York DE Ebenezer Ogundeko could end up being the hidden gem here, though he’ll need to bulk up a bit for the college game. Top Recruit: Mackensie Alexander, CB (No. 4 overall, Grade: 91)

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (22 commitments, 4 in ESPN300): Tech took advantage of a strong 2013 class coming out of Virginia, nabbing 14 in-state recruits. Overall, the group appears heavy on defense, which stays in line with what Frank Beamer’s staff has done consistently over the past two decades. Granted, that won’t help the team’s current offensive woes, but given some defensive issues this past season, bolstering that side can’t be a bad thing. Top Recruit: Kendall Fuller, CB (No. 18 overall, Grade: 88)

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After Losing Perry Hills to Injury, Maryland Forced to Evaluate Other Options

 

With Another QB Lost for the Season, Where Does Maryland Turn Next?

Maryland‘s quarterback is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Again.

Back in August, the only veteran QB on Maryland’s squad, unquestioned starter C.J. Brown, tore his ACL in practice and was lost for the season. After a bit of a QB competition in camp, true freshman Perry Hills became the starter for the Terps. Quarterback-turned-wide receiver Devin Burns returned to his QB role and eventually ended up as the no. 2 QB on the depth chart. The plan had been for the other true freshman QB on the roster, Caleb Rowe, to redshirt for the year.

Last Saturday, Hills threw an interception near the end of the first half. During his attempt to make a tackle, he was blocked in the back, went down and badly twisted his knee, resulting in the second Maryland QB in three months lost for the season because of a torn ACL. Burns played most of the second half, and Rowe burned his redshirt in the last 30 seconds, nearly leading the Terps to a wild victory against NC State (which they would have had if not for a missed field goal).

So what happens now for the Terps?

Obviously, losing their starting QB again is not good. Hills had been the unquestioned starter ever since Brown went down. Now that he is out, the job will fall to either Burns or Rowe. While it is certainly not good for the team to be forced, yet again, to have a new starting QB, all hope is not lost for the season.

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Maryland QB C.J. Brown Tears ACL, Will Miss 2012 Season

 

Maryland Starting Quarterback C.J. Brown’s Injury Spells Doom for the Terrapins This Season

Maryland has seen its worst case scenario for 2012 come true. Its only QB with college experience, starting quarterback C.J. Brown, has been lost for the season due to injury.

Brown tore his ACL in a non-contact drill on Tuesday afternoon, and will miss the entire 2012 season. The other two quarterbacks that were behind him on the depth chart are both true freshman. Former starting QB Danny O’Brien was lost in the spring when he transferred to Wisconsin. Brown and O’Brien had split QB duties last year, but because of O’Brien’s departure, Brown was the unquestioned starter heading into camp. Now that he is sidelined, one of the true freshmen will be expected to start.

This is a serious blow for the Terps. While Brown may not have been as good a passer as O’Brien, he was extremely good with his feet. Even splitting time with O’Brien last year, Brown was able to set a Maryland rushing record for quarterbacks with 574 yards and had started five games. His teammates had also voted him to be one of the captains for the 2012 season, and he appeared to be quite ready to be one of the new leaders of the team. He had put on muscle in the off-season, worked on his accuracy, and was one of the fastest players on the entire team during drills.

With Brown out for the season, the expectations for the Terps will drop. Despite the 2-10 season from a year ago, there were signs that things were looking up. A new turf field had been installed, a good recruiting class was coming in (and a good one for 2013 is in progress), and the chaos of last season had been put behind them. Now that they will not have an experienced quarterback leading the team, it will be a much tougher road ahead. Continue reading

ACC Football Recruiting Class of 2013 Rankings Update (August 15)

Five-Star Defensive Back Kendall Fuller Provides a Big Boost to Virginia Tech’s 2013 Recruiting Class

August saw plenty of move movement for the ACC on the recruiting front, as the league firmly positioned itself in second for soft commitments, but still well behind the SEC. As these classes start to gain more recruits, you’ll see an even more dramatic shift, since many of these rankings are guided entirely by volume, and not necessarily quality (for teams with less than 12 recruits, at least).

Included below are the Rivals.com rankings for all 14 ACC schools. The number to the left is each program’s national rank. Obviously, these figures can and will change over time, since these commitments are still tentative. Additional thoughts are also below.

ACC Football 2013 Recruiting Rankings (August 15)

10. Florida State (19 commits; 3.42 average) (July Rank: 11)

14. Clemson (17 commits; 3.50 average) (July Rank: 21)

18. North Carolina (16 commits; 3.25 average) (July Rank: 34)

19. Virginia Tech (15 commits; 3.27 average) (July Rank: 28)

22. Maryland (19 commits; 2.79 average) (July Rank: 27)

24. Virginia (17 commits; 3.13 average) (July Rank: 19)

34. Miami (FL) (10 commits; 3.60 average) (July Rank: 46)

35. Pittsburgh (15 commits; 2.67 average) (July Rank: 51)

41. Georgia Tech (13 commits; 3.00 average) (July Rank: 36)

49. NC State (16 commits; 2.77 average) (July Rank: 43)

57. Boston College (16 commits; 2.54 average) (July Rank: 57)

59. Wake Forest (12 commits; 2.58 average) (July Rank: 53)

60. Duke (14 commits; 2.42 average) (July Rank: 56)

77. Syracuse (8 commits; 2.71 average) (July Rank: 65)

Some additional notes after the jump: Continue reading

ACC 2012 Season Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Quarterback C.J. Brown Needs to Take Less Hits if Maryland’s Offense Wants to Progress in 2012

Team: Maryland Terrapins

2011 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (2-10; one season)

Returning Starters: 15 (5 Offense, 10 Defense)

After arriving at his dream job coaching the University of Maryland football team last year, Randy Edsall proceeded to rub both media and players the wrong way while turning a 9-4 squad into a 2-10 disaster. The team’s defense allowed over 34 points per game. The team’s offense scored just 23 per game. Only two of the team’s 10 losses occurred by a single-digit margin, they barely defeated a suspension-depleted Miami team on opening night, and only beat FBS team Towson, 28-3. Additionally, they managed to choke away double-digit leads against Clemson and NC State, with the latter putting up 42 in the second half to come back and win. Needless to say, Edsall’s first year on the job was a challenging one. But it appears he’s taken steps to fix it.

First up was the offense, which demanded radical changes after a tumultuous 2011 campaign. So the ineffective Gary Crowton was fired, and in his place, the team returned former recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley, who spent the last three seasons at New Mexico. Now, he’ll have to figure out a way to mold C.J. Brown — who showed some signs of success in 2011 — into a program-defining quarterback. On top of conditioning the junior passer to take less hits, he’ll also have to work to replace several major pieces on offense, lost by the major attrition since Edsall took the helm. Beyond the obvious departure of former starting QB Danny O’Brien, Locksley will have to sort out former star tackle Max Garcia‘s replacement as well. With major question marks on the offensive line, it won’t be easy for Brown to quickly establish himself in the pocket. He’ll be relying on top targets Kevin Dorsey and Stefon Diggs to get open often, as well as the questionable running game to help pick up the slack; all uneasy propositions beyond the senior, Dorsey. Again, Locksley was brought back into the fold for a reason, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.

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