Maryland Wide Receiver Tai Felton Breaks Down Offseason Development, Season Aspirations

When Tai Felton signed with Maryland out of Stone Bridge High School, he came off a missed senior season after suffering a season-ending leg injury, but the Terps staff stuck by his side and remained optimistic for a bounce back from the explosive receiver. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Virginia native did exactly that after flashing through the second half of the 2021 season, registering 51 receiving yards on five catches in seven games after the receiver room was decimated by injuries. With a full offseason under his belt, Felton returns to complement a loaded Maryland receiver room.

“I would say, preparation, like just before practice and stuff like that. I know how to take care of my body. I know how workouts are gonna go. So, I kind of know going into it, what my mindset should be and growing,” Felton told Inside the Black and Gold. “I feel like, just being around the guys I’m around such as like Rak, Jacob and Dontay, so kind of being that type of receiver room, you kind have to elevate your game being around those guys.”

Felton was listed as a co-starter alongside former Florida receiver Jacob Copeland in Maryland’s first depth chart. He knows the talent that the veterans bring to the offense but just like Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus alluded to in August, Felton has watched the room build each other up through the offseason grind. “It’s really competitive. The guys are staying the practice game catching and stuff like that. Guys are staying around, watching extra film. So when you see guys like that, especially our leaders in the room, such as the older guys, it’s kind of like everybody follows, so we’re just watching them and just doing what they’re doing. So we’re just trying to follow the plan, follow the blueprint.”

Where does Maryland’s receiver room stack up nationally, according to Felton?

“I would say number one, just [because] all the work we put in, but of course we gotta put it on the field first, but everybody has the goal of being number one. That’s the goal to be number one and just, we just gotta follow the blueprint, keep working and keep putting the extra work out practice. But the goal is just to be number one and do what we got to do.”

After signing with Maryland when Joker Phillips was his position coach, Felton is now on his second position coach since enrolling after Zohn Burden accepted the same position at Duke this offseason. That brought in longtime receivers coach Gunter Brewer, who Felton knows has a long list of college and NFL stars he’s developed before joining the Terps. “He has a long history of the guys he coached such as Randy Moss, Dez Bryant, stuff like that. So he has all, he has the recipe to be great. So for us to be successful in the receiver room, such as details, coaching points, watching film, how to watch film, stuff like that, he has the whole recipe and the whole blueprint. So it’s kind of just following him, listen to him and just doing what we have to do to be as best as we can be.”

While the two may be competing for playing time, Felton has been able to pick from Copeland’s game to develop himself. “Route watching a lot of especially Jacob. Jacob when he came from Florida, he showed me some different things like, such as releases and stuff like that, but I try to watch all the guys we’re all sitting there watching film together with coach Brew and stuff like that. I watch all the guys try to take stuff in their bag, put it in my bag, because they’re older and they’ve been here for a long time. So they’re more experienced than me. So just watching those guys and kind of taking releases, certain row steps and stuff like that. So just kind of watching those guys and just putting in, try making my own.”

Felton is just one weapon in Maryland’s passing attack and with the development of CJ Dippre and the explosiveness that Corey Dyches flashes in the tight end room, the team knows what the potential is through the air. It all starts with Taulia, though, as he embraces his leadership role on and off the field.

“Lia’s a leader, I’ve seen him grow more as a leader. He’s very vocal and he kind of brings guys under his wings and just takes care of us because he knows that, and we have a good receiver room. He knows that we can be great. So, he’s kind of just off the field stuff too as well. He’s hanging out with us, we’re going out golfing and stuff like that. So just the chemistry we have between all of us is just tight and that’s just gonna lead to on the field.”

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