Amid the controversy that’s surrounded the Maryland football team this offseason — the fallout from offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death and allegations of a “toxic” culture within the program — it appeared Tuesday’s reveal of the Terps’ depth chart would shed some light on the state of the program with four days to go until the season opener.
The ensuing release didn’t shed much light on how Maryland might line up against Texas at FedEx Field on Saturday.
Interim head coach Matt Canada listed quarterbacks Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome as his No. 1 options under center. They are both recovering from torn ACLs sustained early last year, but they’ve been participating fully in fall training camp despite the braces on their knees.
“I have decided on a starting quarterback,” Canada said at a press conference Tuesday, “but we’re not going to discuss that today.”
Pigrome began 2017 as the starter in the Terps’ season opener against Texas, where he completed 9-of-12 pass attempts for 175 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. But Hill entered in the third quarter after Pigrome was injured and steered Maryland to an upset over the Longhorns. Hill started two more games until suffering his own injury.
With Pigrome and Hill both sidelined, third-stringer Matt Bortenschlager started eight of the Terps’ final nine games.
Canada left ambiguity elsewhere on the depth chart, too. For the second straight season, Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison are listed as co-starters at running back, expected to split time in the backfield. Ball carriers Jake Funk and Tayon Fleet-Davis are also expected as feature backs.
With DJ Moore in the NFL, Taivon Jacobs is slated to take over as the Terps’ primary pass catcher and punt returner. Jahrvis Davenport is also slotted in as a starting wideout after making 13 catches last campaign.
Three of the five starting offensive linemen — tackles Damian Prince and Derwin Gray and guard Sean Christie — are unchanged from last year. Sophomore Johnny Jordan, who played in six games as a reserve last season, is listed as the starting center, while Brendan Moore has shifted to guard after starting 25 straight games at center.
Meanwhile, a defense that lost six primary starters from 2017 will see significant turnover.
On the defensive line, Adam McLean, who made one start last season, is listed as the starting nose tackle. Byron Cowart, a junior transfer from Auburn, got the preliminary nod over senior Brett Kulka at defensive end.
Jesse Aniebonam, the Terps’ leader in sacks and tackles for a loss in 2016, returns to start at outside linebacker. Like Pigrome, Aniebonam suffered a season-ending injury in Maryland’s first game of 2017. Aniebonam is flanked by junior Isaiah Davis and graduate transfer Tre Watson at linebacker.
Competition remains between starting cornerbacks for base packages. Marcus Lewis, RaVon Davis and Tino Ellis are competing for the two top spots, though all three will see plenty of action in passing downs.
Defensive back Darnell Savage Jr. remains the only regular defensive starter for the past two years still featuring for Maryland. The junior safety compiled 59 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2017.