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Maryland Terrapins 2023 Football Preview

Fear the turtle? If the Terrapins find answers to major questions with both lines, Maryland could be a surprise team in 2023.

NCAA Football: Duke’s Mayo Bowl-Maryland at North Carolina State Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the stranger anomalies of the Big Ten’s football scheduling is that two of the Big Ten’s most recent additions, Nebraska and Maryland, have only faced each other twice. In comparison, Nebraska has faced Rutgers five times since realignment changed the world of college football.

Heck, by the time the Terps come to Lincoln for the third game in the series, Nebraska will have already faced Pac-12 opponents Colorado and UCLA three times each since the Huskers jumped to the Big Ten. Maryland and Nebraska had never met prior to joining the Big Ten, and those first two games weren’t terribly close, with the Huskers winning 28-7 in 2016 and 54-7 in 2019.

I dare say that this Maryland team is quite a bit different, and quite a bit more imposing than the previous two, and it starts at quarterback where senior Taulia Tagovailoa (5’11” 200 lbs.) returns. Last season, Tagovailoa completed 67% of his passes for 3,008 yards and 18 touchdowns with eight interceptions, earning him second team All Big Ten honors. Tagovailoa is Maryland’s all-time passing leader with 7,879 career yards. Backing him up is sophomore Billy Edwards, who completed 61% of his passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns last season, with one start.

Maryland’s running back room returns pretty much intact, led by sophomore Roman Hemby (6’0” 200 lbs.) who rushed for 989 yards and ten touchdowns last season, earning him honorable mention All-Big Ten honrs. Sophomore Antwain Littleton (6’0” 235 lbs.) is a big physical back who rushed for 320 yards and five touchdowns last season. Also on the depth chard are junior Colby McDonald (5’11” 210 lbs.) and sophomore Ramon Brown (6’0” 212 lbs.). McDonald rushed for 140 yards last season while Brown added 122.

Last season, Maryland spread the ball around quite a bit with nine different receivers topping 100 yards receiving on the season, which meant nobody put up eye-popping numbers. The top two receivers return in senior Jeshaun Jones (6’2” 185 lbs.) and junior Corey Dyches (6’2” 220 lbs.). Jones caught 44 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns last season while Dyches caught 39 for 494 yards and three touchdowns. While four of the top nine are gone, Maryland added transfers Tyrese Chambers (6’1” 195 lbs.) and Kaden Prather (6’4” 209 lbs.). Chambers set a school record with 1,074 yards receiving at Florida International in 2021, while Prather caught 52 passes for 501 yards and three touchdowns for West Virginia last season. We’ll see, but Maryland’s receiver corps could be stronger in 2023.

If there are questions on Maryland’s offense, it’s with the offensive line where the lone returning starter is junior left tackle DJ Glaze (6’5” 305 lbs.), who earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors last season. Senior center Aric Harris (6’2” 310 lbs.) started 9 games in 2021, but was benched for much of 2022. Transfer right tackle Gottlieb Ayedze (6’5” 300 lbs.) was a Division 2 first team All-American at Frostburg State last season.

Maryland needs to completely rebuild their defensive line in 2023 and hit the transfer portal hard. Junior defensive end Quashon Fuller (6’3” 270 lbs.) and redshirt freshman nose tackle Jordan Phillips (6’2” 295 lbs.) combined for 12 career tackles at Florida State and Tennessee respectively. Junior Donnell Brown (6’3” 240 lbs.) was the Northeastern Conference defensive player of the year at 1-AA St. Francis in 2022.

Linebacker is a different matter entirely because nearly everyone is back. Sophomore middle linebacker Jaishawn Barham (6’3” 235 lbs.) was third on the team with 58 tackles as a true freshman last season, earning him freshman All-American honors. Junior weakside linebacker Ruben Hyppolite (6’0” 235 lbs.) was injured much of the season, limiting him to 24 tackles. Prior to last season, he had 80 career tackles in 13 starts. Senior Fa’Najae Gotay (6’0” 220 lbs.) added 37 tackles as a spot starter last season. Senior nickle back Tarheeb Still (6’0” 185 lbs.) had 46 tackles last season.

The secondary lost two cornerbacks in the NFL draft but did pick up Cincinatti transfer Ja’Quan Sheppard (6’2” 200 lbs.) out of the portal. Sheppard earned first team All-AAC honors last season with 50 tackles and ten pass breakups. Junior safeties Beau Brade (6’1” 200 lbs.) and Dante Trader (6’0” 190 lbs.) led the Terps in tackles last season with 85 and 62 respectively. The duo also led Maryland in pass breakups and interceptions as well last season.

Games in the Big Ten are won in the trenches, and that’s where Maryland has the biggest questions in 2023. But a favorable non-conference schedule (Towson, Charlotte and Virginia) could lead to a 5-0 September if they figure out solutions quickly up front. The Terrapins get November home games against Penn State and Michigan before and after their trip to Lincoln, and some folks like Phil Steele wonder if this is the year that Maryland challenges one of the Big Three in the Big Ten’s east division.


What happens when Maryland faces Nebraska in Lincoln?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Maryland has too many skill players for the Huskers. Fear the turtle; Terps win
    (46 votes)
  • 54%
    It’s a heck of a lot closer than the first two matchups in this series, but the Huskers find a way to win.
    (78 votes)
  • 13%
    Terps go into their shell as the Huskers roll all over Maryland.
    (19 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now