Cincinnati CB Ja’Quan Sheppard Announces Transfer to Maryland

Maryland football added a big piece to its 2023 roster through the transfer portal.

Former Cincinnati cornerback Ja’Quan Sheppard announced his transfer to Maryland over UCF, giving the Terps’ secondary an experienced starter next season. Sheppard gave his verbal on Sunday morning to give head coach Mike Locksley his first portal commitment, while IBG was first to report both his upcoming visit and expected decision.

Maryland is expected to return Tarheeb Still next season while Gavin Gibson and Lionell Whitaker will get a chance to round out the cornerback rotation, but Sheppard gives the defensive staff a proven starter to finalize next year’s secondary. Sheppard, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback from Florida, has one season of eligibility remaining and is fresh off of an official visit to Maryland. After beginning his career primarily on special teams, Sheppard posted 64 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss in 21 games over the last two seasons. Sheppard was able to learn from former teammate and New York Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner to prepare him for 2022.

“I saw how he prepares, how he was going through film the day before the game,” Sheppard said in September. “That taught me a lot. How he approached the game, how he took everything to the field. That really helped me.“ While he hasn’t recorded an interception through four seasons, Sheppard recorded ten pass breakups before earning a spot on the All-AAC team last season with the Bearcats.

After entering the portal on first day that the transfer window opened, Maryland was able to beat out a long list of schools as Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, UCF and Cal all extended offers. Sheppard announced a top two of Maryland and UCF shortly after and while the staff didn’t go in-home with Sheppard this past week, they were able to roll out the red carpet during his official visit this past weekend.

Maryland will remain active in the transfer portal and junior college ranks to shore up both sides of the trenches, while former FIU tight end Rivaldo Washington is fresh off an official visit to Maryland with Auburn next. Still, Sheppard will be the first of many additions as Locksley and the staff round out the roster. “This is the landscape of college football. The transfer portal giveth and taketh away,” Locksley said last spring. “I’m sure we’ll enjoy the fruits of the transfer portal during my time here.”

Stay locked into Inside the Black & Gold for the latest visit recap and news on upcoming visitors.

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