COLLEGE PARK - Kenneth Goins rarely, if ever, lined up as a traditional fullback at Gilman.
As a result, it took time to acclimate once Goins got to Maryland. He also needed to get bigger than he was in high school when the 5-foot-9 Goins weighed around just 215 pounds.
But he took over as the Terrapins' starting fullback as a redshirt freshman last year, and coach Randy Edsall said Goins is Maryland’s clear-cut top fullback through the first week of preseason practice.
"[He’s] very valuable,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said. “The use of a fullback in this system is based on what his production level is. If he’s productive as a blocker and we’re not getting the blocking out of a third receiver, we play with a fullback.
"I see Kenny having a role for us. He’s a guy that has the ability to carry the football. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. I think you’ll see the fullbacks play a little bit more prominent role in our offense this year.
Senior Tyler Cierski, who was the Terps’ No. 1 fullback in 2011 and 2012, was expected to push Goins for the top fullback spot, but the now 235-pound Goins has done well enough during camp that Cierski appears to be trying to hold off sophomore Andrew Stefanelli for the No. 2 job.
I think Kenny is playing very well,” Edsall said. “Kenny is having a really good [camp]. He’s stronger and he’s put on a little bit more weight. He’s doing a good job.
Most important to Terps coaches, Goins has improved as a blocker.
Locksley said Goins was more of a ball-carrier than a fullback when he got to Maryland in 2012. However, Locksley said Goins has become an above-average blocker under the tutelage of running backs coach Andre Powell while still possessing the ball-carrier skills he showed while rushing for 11 touchdowns as a senior at Gilman in 2011.
Goins had nine carries for 48 yards for the Terps last season. He also had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.
"I feel like he’s definitely matured,” said Maryland quarterback Shane Cockerille, a high school teammate of Goins. “At Gilman, he was just a run-block guy, just running through holes and blowing people up. Now, he can catch, run and block. I think he’s definitely matured more, and obviously he knows what he’s doing on offense, and he barely makes mistakes.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun