Within its’ linebacking corp the Maryland Terrapins posses perhaps their most talented group. The only other group that rivals the linebackers in talent is the stable of running backs. Maryland linebackers have a great combo of size, experience and athleticism, as well as an impressive group of underclassmen destined to provide strong play at the position for years to come. The unit will shine for the Terps again this year. The question is will the deficiencies in the secondary and on the line be to great for the linebackers to overcome?
Maryland is led at the linebacker position by two outstanding seniors in Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten. Wujciak is a tackle machine, who patrols the middle linebacker spot with intensity and toughness. Wujciak is always around the ball and is a physical player. Wujciak’s range is the only weakness in his game, but he has reportedly worked hard this off-season to gain quickness and mobility. The hopes for his senior campaign are that the Brian Cushing look-a-like can become a Cushing play-a-like as well. Moten on the other hand is a truly gifted athlete who excels at rushing the passer and creating havoc in opposing backfields. Moten may be called upon to expand his game if a consistent pass rush can be found from other sources. Look for both Wujciak and Moten to have big senior campaigns. A lot is on the line for them in both leading Maryland to a successful season and attracting NFL interest.
The third starter at the linebacker position is Demetirus Hartsfield. Hartsfield turned heads as a freshman last year showing superior athleticism and play-making ability. Hartsfield has greater upside that his fellow upperclassman ‘backers and his development can make this unit really devastating. Hartsfield will have to pay close attention to the leadership of Wujciak and Moten, because he will be the main man of the group next year.
The Terps have suffered some losses in the LB fold. Back-up Ben Pooler is likely out for the season with a knee injury and talented underclassman Avery Murray has left the school. While those losses hurt, Maryland still has strong, young talent at the position. Darin Drakeford is an athletic linebacker who showed well on special teams last year and could be Moten’s replacement in a year. Other young LB’s to watch for are Ryan Donohue. Donohue, like Wujciak, is from New Jersey and could be the MLB of the future for the Terps.
Four true freshman to keep an eye on in the future are Lorne Goree, David Mackall, Javarie Johnson and Desmond Kearse. All four are talented and athletic players who were highly recruited out of high school. And if you are wondering if Kearse is related to Javon Kearse, you are right. Keasre excelled as a speed rusher in high school and right now he is athletic enough to play either safety or linebacker. Kearse could eventually get big enough to be a defensive end.