Reporting Brendan Darr
There’s a ton of news coming out of College Park today. There’s the beginning of National Signing Day for the class of 2012 recruits for Basketball. Depth Chart updates for football. Oh, and the pesky issue of deciding what program first gets the ax from the Maryland Athletic Department.
Basketball Signing Day:
So the early signing period for the 2012 recruits begins today, and Maryland got three outstanding players to put pen to paper and sign letters of intent to play at the University of Maryland. The three come as no surprise as they have been on board with Maryland for a few months now. The first (and least-heralded) player is Seth Allen, a 6’2″ Guard from Fredericksburg, Va. The highest rated player is Shaq Cleare, a 6’9″ Center from Houston, Tx. The final piece of the class is 6’8″ Power Forward, Jake Layman from Wrentham, Ma.
Maryland’s class is considered top-20 across the board. An impressive feat given that it’s the exact opposite of the football team right now. Coach Mark Turgeon said he was very pleased with this class, so far. He left it open that he would like to add another piece or two, specifically, a point guard and another power forward. Turgeon has up to six scholarships to put towards next year, assuming no one leaves early or transfers.
Tempered expectations this year, coupled with the addition of Len and Howard mid-season and added player or two in the recruiting class could be the perfect storm for a strong 2012-13 campaign.
Football Depth Chart:
The football depth chart came out on Monday without a single change. Still co-starting quarterbacks, which I’m sure everyone was pleased with. It was also announced that Maryland will wear the Maryland Pride Uniforms against Notre Dame.
Then, a mid-week change on defense. Senior Cornerback Cameron Chism was benched in place of Senior Trenton Hughes. I will be the first to say that Chism isn’t a shutdown corner and has had his ups and downs this season, but this late in the season it’s a little strange to make the change now. Especially since Dexter McDougle hasn’t been shutting the opposing receivers down either opposite Chism.
In a slightly-less shocking move, Safety Titus Till was benched in favor of true freshman A.J. Hendy. This position has been in flux ever since Matt Robinson went down early in the season. Till stepped in after Robinson’s injury, but didn’t light the world on fire. Then last week he got a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on him, and that was all she wrote. Till didn’t see the field again after that. Hendy stepped in, but again, didn’t go out of his way to impress.
From the good news department, Justin Gilbert took just two weeks two reclaim his starting spot along the offensive line since coming back from a torn ACL. It’s nothing personal against Josh Cary, who has done well at right guard this season, but it’s good to see Gilbert back in the starting lineup and producing.
However, the most curious moves are the ones that weren’t made. Where are RB D.J. Adams and WR Adrian Coxson. On multiple occasions this season, coach Randy Edsall has said, he’ll have to “go back and look at the tape” to see how players performed. However, it’s pretty obvious from the limited playing time both have seen that they performed well, while players higher than them on the depth chart have faltered.
The running back position entering the year had Davin Meggett on top, with D.J. Adams as the short-yardage and goal-line back. Adams was the suspended for the season opener against Miami, before having 12 carries for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns against West Virginia and all looked right in the world. Since then, Adams has had 7 carries for 16 yards and a touchdown in the seven games since (including not getting a carry in four games). Justus Pickett has taken over as the number two back behind Meggett, and even cut into Meggett’s carries. Pickett has been averaging just 3.2 yards per carry over his last three games – to Meggett’s 5.3 yards per carry in the same span.
The other puzzling roster omission is WR Adrian Coxson, a freshman transfer from Florida. Coxson hadn’t played in a game until the previous week against Boston College. Wide Receivers Kerry Boykins, Marcus Leak and Ronnie Tyler were all benched and Kevin Dorsey was out injured leaving Quinton McCree. Adrian Coxson was trotted out in the fourth quarter and thoroughly impressed. He finished with three catches for 78 yards and a 55 yard touchdown. With the inability to find a second, let alone a third solid receiving option behind Kevin Dorsey, it’s surprising that Coxson didn’t see much playing time, if any against Virginia or on the depth chart this week. Dorsey has been solid all season, while McCree has had his ups and downs, but no one else has been able to really produce have struggled with drops (Tyler, Boykins and Leak) or health (Logan).
Maryland Athletic Department Update:
It won’t be the last program cut, this much we know. But what others will join the swim team – which currently has a facebook page with over 3,000 fans to save the program. I’d say the team’s that are safe for sure: Football, Basketball (Men’s and Women’s), Lacrosse (Men’s and Women’s), Soccer (Men’s and Women’s), Field Hockey and Wrestling. I’d assume Golf (Men’s and Women’s), Baseball and Softball would all be safe as well, but other than that, all the smaller programs could be in serious trouble.
Follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067