Five Stock Risers from Fall Camp

Maryland football is gearing up in hopes of making year four under head coach Mike Locksley the most winning season yet. With ample returners on the offensive side of the ball and a handful of familiar faces on defense, the large bulk of the roster has already solidified their starting spots while the depth is ironed out. That doesn’t include the young players, though, after a handful has turned heads. Locksley reiterated during camp that “it’s about contributors, guys that contribute every single game, in different forms of fashion, whether it’s special teams or whether it’s on offense or defense and the meaningful reps they’re able to take.” While some names overlap with our five players most likely to burn their redshirts this season, there’s no denying a handful of Terps have flashed.

One of the biggest stock risers of fall camp is freshman wide receiver Octavian Smith. The freshman out of Paint Branch High School has showed lost of promise in the return game on kick return with his speed and agility. “Guy like Octavian Smith, one of the younger players that’s in the return room for us, did some good things,” said coach Locksley when talking about how the return game was in their second team scrimmage. Smith has also raised lots of eyebrows from the staff on offense as well helping him get more reps with the first team offense.

Another guy that’s been impressive in camp is freshman Jaishawn Barham. The former four star recruit has proved why he was rated so high coming out of high school in fall camp. “He’s in that phase of learning those things but while he’s doing it, he’s showing instincts, he’s showing toughness, he’s showing athleticism. A lot of the things he showed in high school,” said defensive coordinator Brian Williams. With the lack of depth at both linebacker positions, Barham is expected to have a large depth role in both the inside and outside linebacker positions.

After losing nearly 40 pounds in the offseason, Antwain Littleton has completely reshaped his body to fit the running back position better. Last season during his freshman season, Littleton was about 265 pounds. Littleton appeared in two games last season against Howard and Virginia Tech. Littleton racked up 74 yards and a touchdown on 15 rushing attempts last season for the Terps. With losing the weight this offseason, Littleton is prepared to take on a larger load this season with the departure of Tayon Fleet-Davis and Challen Faamatau being out for the beginning of the season. Littleton when asked about his weight loss said “There was definitely some mental times where I wanted to quit or was even asking myself ‘is this even for me?’ But I knew at the end of the day that there was a bigger goal. It wasn’t just about me. It was about the team as well and overall, I just loved playing football.”

Another young running back for the Terps has also showed lots of promise this fall. Roman Hemby who is also a redshirt freshman such as Littleton has shown off on the special teams in the kick return game with his speed. His speed has also helped him gain more reps with the first team offense. Teammate Colby Mcdonald stated the team lacked “big plays, like 60-plus [yards], like home-run plays” last season and a guy like Hemby with that top end speed can fill that void.

Tai Felton, a sophomore wide receiver for the Terps is also another player that has boosted his stock in fall camp. Tai has great speed that can take the top off a defense and can also be a weapon in the return game as well. As reported by Ahmed Ghafir before, “both Tai Felton and Octavian Smith are in line for bigger roles this fall with Fleming’s standing dwindling in College Park.” Felton last season appeared in four games for the Terps last year with five receptions for 51 yards. With Marcus Fleming’s status up in the air, look for Felton to have a bigger role this season.

The Terps will need some of these guys as well as others to step up if they want to be successful and keep improving the program. The Terps open the season home against Buffalo on September 3rd.

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