After being the first Terp to find the endzone on Friday night, the Big Ten announced that Maryland wide receiver and kickoff returner Braeden Wisloski has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.
After Maryland found themselves in a 14-0 hole for the second consecutive week, Wisloski punched in a near untouched, 98-yard kickoff return in the first of 42 unanswered points against Virginia. Wisloski’s game-changing play marked his first career touchdown and was the first kickoff return for a touchdown since Javon Leake posted a 97-yard return against Michigan back on November 2, 2019.
Wisloski’s 98-yard return is the longest return since Leake recorded a 100-yard return against Rutgers in 2019, while he becomes the first Maryland player to earn Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week since kicker Chad Ryland did so last November.
“The true freshman there, Braeden Wisloski. I’m sure a bunch of people question ‘hey, why is this guy back there?’ Especially after the first two decisions he made on those first returns. But the only third one you saw while we did. He’s the guy that has the ability to make explosive plays,” head coach Mike Locksley said following Friday’s win. “He did it a bunch doing training camp and so we’re looking for a guy that can give us a spark in the special teams return game. He was able to do that and he kind of got us going.”
Maryland opened the season with second-year receiver Octavian Smith as the primary returner through the first two weeks, but Wisloski’s combination of speed and vision contribute to why the former three-star signee was in the mix through fall camp. Following his commitment last summer, Wisloski drew comparisons to former North Carolina receiver Ryan Switzer out of high school.
“I was surprised that he said that but pretty happy about it. Just because I’m so versatile, I can do a lot of things on the field with my speed,” Wisloski said at the time of his decision.
Wisloski was one of five wide receiver signees in the 2022 class, while he and Ryan Manning enrolled in January.
“At the receiver position, losing the talent and depth that we had with the guys that are leaving our program, was really important to bring in the right kind of guys to fill those voids and we felt like we hit the mark on both those necessary needs,” Locksley said on signing day.