Maryland football selected as “breakout team” in 2023

Spring ball is roughly six weeks away as head coach Mike Locksley prepares for his fifth season as head coach in College Park and will look to send Maryland to its third consecutive bowl game since 2006-08. Despite replacing nearly all its starters on the offensive side of the ball, the offseason buzz has started early as Maryland was selected by Chris Low as a breakout team in 2023.

“Mike Locksley enters his fifth season as Maryland‘s coach, and the Terrapins have gotten better, more talented and more competitive each year,” Low wrote. “They’re coming off back-to-back winning seasons after suffering through six straight losing seasons from 2015-20. In addition, Maryland has capped each of the past two seasons with bowl victories. The biggest offseason news for the Terps was record-setting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa announcing that he would return for the 2023 season. Two of Maryland’s five losses last season in the Big Ten were by a touchdown or less. With a quarterback the caliber of Tagovailoa returning and a defense that should be improved, the Terps will be better positioned to finish some of those close games and make a run at their first nine-win season or better in more than a decade.”

Taulia’s return gives the offense much-needed stability on the offensive side of the ball as he’s already working with his new receivers like Kaden Prather and Tyrese Chambers through player-run workouts. Maryland will also return its entire running back room along with DJ Glaze and Mason Lunsford upfront, while Coltin Deery and Aric Harris will likely battle it out for the starting center position. While the receiver room also returns guys like Tai Felton, Octavian Smith and Shaleak Knotts as Jeshaun Jones has returned for workouts, Locksley will have a chance to maintain the offensive firepower that finished fourth in the Big Ten in total offense in 2022.

A big reason for the early optimism is due to Maryland’s activity in the transfer portal leading into 2023, adding Prather (WVU), Chambers (FIU), Ja’Quan Sheppard (Cincinnati), Gottlieb Ayedze (Frostburg), Corey Bullock (NC Central), Marcus Dumervil (LSU), Donnell Brown (Saint Francis), Jordan Phillips (Tennessee) and Avantae Williams (Miami). Maryland has only a handful of scholarships remaining heading into spring ball and with the roster largely set, fan expectations gradually grow as Locksley continues the program rebuild.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that it takes three or four years for your culture to get settled into a program,” Locksley said in 2021. “A couple of years ago before I got here…there was not a lot of support for (the program). There weren’t a lot of people who had great things to say about it. But I think all the things we’ve tried to do, (we’ve tried) to build trust back up in our program. The goal is and will always be to win. We have not done that just yet, not at the level we expect to or anyone who supports this program wants us to. But we feel good we’re headed in the direction to be able to accomplish those things.”

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