Taulia Tagovailoa, one of the program’s all-time great quarterbacks, guided Maryland football to three straight bowl games to cap off his four-year career. But the Terps need a new signal caller to extend that streak in 2024.

Tagovailoa exhausted his eligibility after last season, creating an opening at quarterback for the first time since 2019. Coach Michael Locksley has a bevy of options, including NC State transfer MJ Morris and 2023 Music City Bowl MVP Billy Edwards Jr.

The first of Maryland’s 15 spring practices began Tuesday. Locksley will use these weeks to help determine the potential starting quarterback. The coach said he has “no idea” who it’ll be.

“This is where I’ll get to start drawing some opinions on what I’ve seen,” Locksley said.

The Terps’ signal callers will undergo live situations in the spring, allowing Locksley to see how players react and respond to in-game conditions.

Avoiding turnovers in those scenarios is key to becoming the starting quarterback, Locksley said. He wants every drive to end in a kick.

“Protecting the ball just means not forcing the ball when it doesn’t have to be forced,” Morris said. “If there’s a back open on a check down, hit him instead of trying to take a deep shot downfield when he’s double covered.”

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Morris struggled with giveaways last season for NC State, throwing five interceptions in four games. The former three-star recruit fired only one interception in five outings — two starts — in his freshman campaign.

Learning the offense is Morris’ biggest focus during the spring. But he isn’t deterred by the quarterback competition. The redshirt sophomore appreciated Locksley’s straightforward pitch when the coach told him the job wouldn’t be automatically his during his transfer process.

Morris’ biggest opposition is Edwards, who is entering his third season with the Terps.

Edwards’ few meaningful passing snaps for Maryland came when he stepped in for an injured Tagovailoa in a 2022 win over Northwestern and started the Music City Bowl. The redshirt junior also occasionally appeared in special goal-line packages.

“You can’t teach any quarterback experience,” Edwards said. “I think that definitely helps me out with in-game experience.”

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Edwards is one of two returning quarterbacks to have thrown a pass in college — Cameron Edge appeared in two games last season, including the Music City Bowl. Neither of the Terps’ other two signal callers, Jayden Sauray or Champ Long, have received a snap for Maryland.

Terps offensive coordinator Josh Gattis said he wants the signal callers to understand how to help and lead the offense, especially with their situational understanding, to prevent negative plays and third down and red zone offense.

“We want to see a great understanding of our offense and an expertise of playing quarterback,” Gattis said. “Being a quarterback at the collegiate level … 95 percent of it is above the shoulders.”

Morris enters spring practice with the most games played of any current Maryland quarterback. Edwards has the most experience in the Terps’ system. Edge’s lone meaningful game action was in the Music City Bowl. Sauray and Long haven’t played a collegiate game at quarterback.

Right now, Maryland doesn’t have a clear answer for who its starting quarterback will be in 2024. Locksley, who said he won’t be ready to make it official until the days leading up to his team’s season opener, is “looking forward” to finding the right fit.