On3 evaluates pressure on Mike Locksley, Maryland football in 2024

Big Ten media day is roughly three weeks away with head coach Mike Locksley set to take the podium on Thursday, July 25 with the new-look Big Ten football season inching closer. While Maryland will look to reach a fourth consecutive bowl game in as many years for the first time in program history, On3 took a look around the conference to evaluate which coaches faced the most pressure this fall.

While Ohio State head coach Ryan Day topped the list, Maryland head coach Mike Locksley was one of nine coaches listed at ‘medium’ pressure alongside Bret Bielema (Illinois), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Sherrone Moore (Michigan), Matt Rhule (Nebraska), Dan Lanning (Oregon), Ryan Walters (Purdue), Greg Schiano (Rutgers) and Luke Fickell (Wisconsin).

On3: The Terps are coming off their best season since 2010, and they’ve won a bowl game in three straight years. With Taulia Tagovailoa out of eligibility, it probably won’t get any better than that, so Locksley is mainly tasked with making sure the team doesn’t slip too far down the Big Ten standings in its transition to the MJ Morris era.

Locksley, of course, saw his contract automatically extended to Dec. 31, 2028, after Maryland picked up its seventh win following the Rutgers game last November.

While filling the shoes once worn by Taulia Tagovailoa has been a long process through the offseason, how the quarterback position plays out remains the biggest storyline heading into the season with NC State transfer MJ Morris battling Billy Edwards Jr. while Cam Edge looks to shake things up in fall camp to remain a factor. Maryland also turned to the transfer portal to restock its offensive line, providing fans with the biggest two questions surrounding the new-look Terps heading into the 2024 season. How the QB-OL develops will be the biggest determining factor to Maryland’s success this fall, though there’s no shortage of skill players with RB Roman Hemby, RB Nolan Ray, WR Tai Felton and WR Kaden Prather all back to lead the way.

The front seven returns its entire starting defensive line and multiple starters in the linebacker room, led by fifth-year senior Ruben Hyppolite. The defense has little concerns aside from inexperience in the cornerback room, though former Quince Orchard and All-MAC CB Jalen Huskey arrived in January to give position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim a dependable vet to lean on.

The big question is whether Maryland can take a step forward against the Big Ten elite in 2024. Maryland fans have long looked at a signature win to move the needle for the program’s growth, and Locksley’s squad will have a chance to do that this fall. In addition to hosting USC for its homecoming game on Oct. 19, Maryland will travel to Eugene to take on expected preseason top-ten Oregon while Penn State serves as the regular season finale. While neither Ohio State nor Michigan are on this year’s schedule, a potential homecoming win against the Trojans could serve as the spark to Maryland’s upcoming season.

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