Maryland misses out on first AP Poll, another watch list for Jaishawn Barham

The first AP Poll of the 2023 season was released on Monday as Maryland football found themselves on the outside looking in.

Maryland did not draw votes in the AP poll with Michigan (2), Ohio State (3) and Penn State (7) and Iowa all ranked. Illinois was the lone Big Ten team to draw votes, while Maryland’s exclusion comes one week after Maryland drew votes in the first coaches poll, unofficially checking in at 45th in the country.

After making it clear that a Big Ten championship is the goal in sight for the 2023 season, Maryland will look to defeat the Big Ten elite with Taulia Tagovailoa back under center for year four in the program.

“I think the way you challenge those teams is to get your players to play well. Most of the things, and if you’ve followed us over the years, we very rarely worry about the opponent because it’s more what we do than it is what they do. More how we do it and hopefully we do it a little better than our opponents and that’s what gives you a chance to win,” head coach Mike Locksley said at media day. “As far as the spotlight of the, you know, we’re not shying away from it because the only expectation that really matters to us and I mean this with all honesty, is the expectation we have in that building, the Jones-Hill House. And I can tell you, there’s nobody in there that’s afraid of declaring that now is the time for Maryland to become a team that competes for Big Ten championships.”

While Maryland has the skill players on offense and experience on defense, all eyes remain on the offensive line as head coach Mike Locksley admitted the unit is “not close” following the first scrimmage this past weekend.

“[Saturday] really was the first opportunity to evaluate with the new pieces that got here, from [Kevin] Kalonji coming in and as well as Mike Purcell who weren’t here in the spring. This is really the first opportunity for us to see these guys, grade them based on how they perform under the lights per se in The Shell. And so just walking off the field, I’m excited to get a chance to watch the tape and then we will start the process of figuring out who played well. We’ll make the necessary adjustments going into week three of camp for us after Sunday being a recovery day and we’ll start adjusting the depth chart based on how some guys perform for us.”

Meanwhile, star linebacker Jaishawn Barham is one of just five underclassmen named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. Barham becomes Maryland’s first watch list selection since Antoine Brooks in 2019 and comes days after being named to the Butkus Award Watch List.

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