Trio of Underclassmen Draw Midseason Honors

Ahead of Maryland’s game this weekend, a pair of underclassmen were honored after both running back Roman Hemby and linebacker Jaishawn Barham were named to the midseason All-American team by The Athletic.

Hemby, who drew honors as an all-purpose player, has been a big part of an explosive Maryland offense that sits 11th in the country in plays over 40 yards. Hemby has three of them himself, along with three 100-yard rushing performances this season, but he’s doing so at an impressive rate. The former John Carroll star also has the second-most yards from scrimmage of any FBS freshman, totaling 727 total yards, and is also one of eight Terps to amass at least ten catches this season. He’s also fifth in the Big Ten in yards per carry (6.2) and after rushing for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the season opening win over Buffalo, Hemby became the first Terp since Rakim Jarrett to draw freshman of the week honors from the Big Ten. Against SMU, Hemby became the first Terp in the last 25 years to have 150 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in the same game and currently leads the team with 502 yards and four touchdowns through seven games.

“We showed good depth there with Colby [McDonald] coming in, Antwain had some big runs there and showed his power … I thought Roman showed exactly why we named him our starter,” coach Mike Locksley said after Hemby’s performance in the season opener. It’s the latest honor for Hemby, whose top end speed has been on full display this season and was a trait that Maryland coveted out of high school. As for Barham, he’s been as advertised for the Terps’ defense thus far.

Barham, the former four-star prospect who started at DeMatha and graduated from St. Frances, currently sits second on the team in both total tackles (35) and tackles for loss (4.5) while also registering one forced fumble and recovery through seven games. Maryland’s defense has had 11 different players record at least one sack this season, tied for third-most in the nation, with Barham leading the defense with three sacks.

Barham has started every game as a true freshman and is one of five players with a team-high seven consecutive starts, while his 35 tackles are the fifth-most of any FBS freshman. His 12 tackles against SMU are the most by a Maryland freshman since D’Qwell Jackson in 2002, while he became just the third freshman in the last 12 years to record two sacks in one game having done so against Purdue. “His first step quickness and his ability to, as we say, ‘get skinny’ on big tackles, it becomes kind of a matchup issue,” Locksley said of his young star. “This guy plays the game the old school way, he loves attacking, getting to the football.”

Maryland was one of three programs to have multiple players named to The Athletic’s list, joining Cal and LSU.

The accolades didn’t end there as tight end Corey Dyches was also selected as a midseason selection at tight end, this time from Joshua Perry on the Big Ten Network set. “You talk about mismatches, a tight end who can run the way that he does. I mean watching his gallop up and down the field is so much fun on Saturdays,” Perry added. “I think he’s really carved out a role as a guy who can yes, get you at the point of attack but when you’ve got to stretch the field and you want to throw the ball up to somebody, get you a 50-50 play, he’s the guy you go to.”

Dyches currently leads the team with 346 receiving yards and three touchdowns and is tied with Rakim Jarrett for 25 catches through seven games. Dyches has the sixth-most receiving yards (346) of any FBS tight end and the most in the Big Ten and, like Hemby, Dyches is also among the eighth players to amass ten receptions this season. He’s also one of four players to reel in six catches in one game this season, a feat that Jeshaun Jones has done twice (Charlotte, Michigan State).

While Dyches is expected to be the next future NFL tight end under head coach Mike Locksley, joining a long list of players in the league like Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tyler Mabry and Irv Smith among others, his ascension this season has been one of the more unexpected but welcomed developments this season after flashing big play ability. In Maryland’s last home game, Dyches reeled in Maryland’s longest reception of the season with a 68-yard touchdown on a play that featured dragging his defender nearly 15 yards into the end zone.

“When you get inside the 20, you’re supposed to just smell the endzone,” Dyches said after the Purdue loss. “That’s pretty much all it was. It was a great ball by Taulia [Tagovailoa] and I was able to bring it down and walk it in. Whenever you get open opportunities like that, you always take advantage of them.”

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