Expect a big dose of Diggs when Maryland’s football season opens Saturday at Byrd Stadium against William & Mary. Freshman Stefon Diggs, the highly-touted recruit, will be the punt returner and kick returner.
He is also listed as a backup receiver, behind Kerry Boykins. He was lining up in the slot during practices and scrimmages.
Maryland today released its new two-deep depth chart, announcing its starters for Saturday’s game.
While there was little mystery over many starting positions, here are three I was watching, and the outcomes:
*Running back: Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross has supplanted Justus Pickett as the starting tailback. Maryland fans haven’t seen much of Ross – he played in the preseason open scrimmage – but his teammates who practiced with him spoke glowingly of the player’s promise during his 2011 redshirt season.
Here is what offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said in the spring about Ross, who is 5-feet-10 and 205 pounds:
"He has the ability to hit the home run with that closing and finishing speed. Very explosive, and not just an outside guy. He's a guy that runs physical in between the tackles. He's a guy I'd call a three-down back."
I don’t rule out that one of the true freshmen – Albert Reid, Wes Brown – could crack the top two during the season.
A key: how well will Maryland's reconfigured offensive line open holes for the backs?
*Kicker: Brad Craddock, the Punter (and kicker) from Down Under, is a surprise winner of the starting place kicking job. Craddock, who played Australian Rules Football, is still battling Nate Renfro for the punting job.
As preseason opened, Nick Ferrara, the senior, was listed atop the chart as the kicker and punter. I spoke with him last week after Edsall told the media that Ferrara would not be the punter. But Ferrara still seemed to anticipate kicking field goals. We’ll keep you posted on this.
*Strong safety: Sean Davis, a true freshman from Washington’s Maret School, will step into the defensive backfield to fill the strong safety spot with Matt Robinson injured. It’s a big test for him, although Robinson (shoulder) said he expects to start practicing and be ready for Week 2 at Temple.
Here is the two-deep depth chart, which includes 14 true freshmen:
WR-X 12 Kevin Dorsey 6-2 210 Sr.-3V
3 Nigel King 6-3 210 Fr.-RS
LT 74 Nick Klemm 6-5 300 Jr.-2V
77 Mike Madaras 6-5 290 Fr.-HS
LG 63 Bennett Fulper 6-5 295 Sr.-3V
64 Nick Brigham 6-2 280 Fr.-HS