You came to College Park as a pretty highly touted recruit, but it took some time for you to make an impact playing behind receivers like Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon and LaQuan Williams. How would you characterize those first few years?

I would say if anything, those years were necessary. You still have to grow and you still have to learn. Actually, I was fortunate to have those guys in front of me to learn from. Those experiences I had with them, it’s something you can’t really replace. To get inside knowledge on how to run a route, how to read a coverage, how to better study a playbook, to get that from a guy who has already been there [was invaluable]. A few guys who actually progressed and made it to the next level, you saw their work and how they prepared. It gave you a baseline to push hard and work for yourself.

What changed when Randy Edsall took over for Ralph Friedgen as coach? How did that transition go for you?

It actually went pretty well for me. A few other guys didn’t necessarily transition as well with it, but I kind of always looked at it like being a business. You could be working for a certain company for a year, and you may get a new boss. Some things happen and you learn to address the situation. I always approached it from a business mindset.

Was it kind of frustrating that your most productive years coincided with two losing seasons?

Oh yeah, definitely. It’s not necessarily something that I wanted to put myself and the rest of the seniors through. We definitely wanted to go out with a bang. [I wanted] the last memory of when I played on this field [to be positive]. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But I can say one good thing is that I think almost every senior on the team now has an opportunity to play at the next level. That’s a positive thing.

What will you remember about both head coaches you played for?

Well, they both have two different types of coaching styles. I can say I definitely owe a lot to Coach Friedgen, who gave me my first opportunity. Also, I can thank Coach Edsall for the way he prepared us for every single day. He treated us as if we were already NFL guys. The way we do certain things, the schedule is set up for you to come prepared with the expectation and mindset of where to be in the film room, in the weight room and on the field. He definitely prepared us for that well.

What’s your best memory of being a Maryland football player?

Actually, I remember just talking about this with a friend. We were working out one day with the old strength coach, Dwight Galt. It was early in the morning, it was raining, and we had run those metal bleachers and run through the stadium. It was just one of those football moments where you’re working out, you’re tired, exhausted. We had just run sprints and everything and just kind of laid there on the grass, taking a deep breath. That’s what football is all about – sitting in the rain with the people you want to be around and love, being there for one common goal.

What are your post-football plans?

I’m not completely sure, but I do know I definitely want to get into stocks a little bit and own my own business. I have a few things in mind which I want to do. I’ll see how things pan out and what I can start to work on first. Those things are, more or less, for after football is completely over. I’m not giving them as much thought right now. They’re little steps I need to take to prepare for the future. Right now, I’m just focused on football.

Any regrets on your time in College Park?

Oh no, not at all. I look at it like God has a plan for everything for a reason. Anything that may have happened, a winning season or a losing season, it has its purpose. I think that at the end of the day, we all go through ups and downs, trials and tribulations. It’s necessary. You just have to persevere through different things. It builds character, and it happens for a reason.

mbracken@baltsun.com

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