VIP: Maryland Football’s Final Open Practice Ahead of Game Week

  • With camp over, Maryland is now entrenched in prep for week one’s matchup against Buffalo. Fall camp is over with normal practice now in full swing and the team will have a mock scrimmage this upcoming Saturday, light work for the team one week out of the season opener. Locksley will not be made available to the media this weekend.
  • When it comes to confidence on the team, the three position groups that routinely come up are of no surprise: offensive line, wide receivers and quarterbacks. After shattering Maryland’s single-season records ons season ago, this will be a chance for Taulia to take the next step and showcase himself as an NFL quarterback with an experienced line protecting him and a talented group of wide receivers. At receiver, there’s a possibility that Marcus Fleming remains away from action but returns to the team as his charges could be dismissed on Thursday, but both Tai Felton and Octavian Smith are in line for bigger roles this fall with Fleming’s standing dwindling in College Park. Freshman receiver Leon Haughton has shown good speed given his 6-foot-4 frame while former four-star Shaleak Knotts is battling through a left hand injury, but the room is led by Dontay Demus, Rakim Jarrett, Jeshaun Jones and Jacob Copeland. As for Demus and Jeshaun Jones, both are still on track to be cleared and available for Maryland’s week one matchup. At offensive line, I expect Spencer Anderson at right guard and DJ Glaze at right tackle.
  • I fully expect the starting safety tandem to feature Dante Trader and Beau Brade this fall. The biggest question is where does veteran defensive back Isaiah Hazel fit into the rotation, whether backing up Trader or flashing as a nickel corner, but the new starting tandem has been in the works now as Trader has lived up to his billing as a ballhawking safety who flashes elite range along the backline. I mentioned this on Shell-N-Tell, but fans could very much see former River Hill standout Beau Brade make big plays in the box with his close out and open field tackling skills a pair of traits that he’s continuously flashed.
  • The big question is how does Maryland’s front seven fares this fall? Pair of transfers have drawn sporadic praise with Quashon Fuller playing a more immediate role along the defensive line. Nose tackle Henry Chibueze will factor into the two-deep, but will become more integral through the course of the season. Fuller does well locking down the defensive end position where he and Austin Fontaine are battling it out. Fuller has drawn praise in run support, an area of focus for Maryland last season, while veteran Austin Fontaine can help generate pressure off the edge.
  • The Buffalo Bills were among the teams represented on campus on Wednesday as NFL scouts have become a mainstay in College Park this month. With arguably double-digit NFL Draft prospects on the roster, the expectation is that’ll remain the case for the program heading into the season. Maryland came close in 2019 (Darnell Savage, Byron Cowart, Ty Johnson, Derwin Gray) but haven’t produced five or more draft picks since 2009 (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kevin Barnes, Moise Fokou, Jaimie Thomas, Dan Gronkowski). Maryland will have a chance to shatter that record this year with Dontay Demus, Rakim Jarrett, Jacob Copeland, Tarheeb Still, Deonte Banks, Jakorian Bennett, Jeshaun Jones, Taulia Tagovailoa and Durell Nchami all draft eligible next spring.

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