Maryland freshman receiver Juwann Winfree has 'got a lot of potential'

Baltimore Sun Media Group

COLLEGE PARK -- There have been freshman-like moments -- dropped passes, routes not being run as precisely as Maryland coaches would like and mental errors.

But there have been other moments during the first week of preseason practice when wide receiver Juwann Winfree has looked like the potentially dynamic playmaker the Terps hoped they were getting when they first got an oral commitment from Winfree last September.

"I think he’s done a good job," Maryland coach Randy Edsall. "You see him doing some things each day where you say, 'OK, this is exactly what you thought you were getting.'"

Winfree was one of the top-rated members of the Terps’ recruiting class this year.

He was ranked as a four-star prospect by all the major scouting services and chose the Terps over offers from schools like Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina, among others.

Winfree has good size at 6 feet 2, 195 pounds and is faster and more athletic than many players his size.

He is elusive once he gets the ball in his hands, as he has shown while dancing around defenders during practice this week.

He has also shown the capability to get behind Maryland's defense in the passing game, although he was unable to bring in what would have been a long touchdown catch during practice Friday.

"He's got a lot of potential," Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs said. “He's a big receiver and he's got good feet, and I like his hands. So as of right now, he's looking pretty good."

Drops have been one of the bigger issues despite both Edsall and Diggs praising Winfree’s hands.

Winfree had an acrobatic touchdown catch during one-on-one drills Friday and made a contested catch along the sideline during the team portion of practice Saturday. However, he looks like a bit of a body-catcher at this point and has had drops during team drills each of the last three days.

He dropped a would-be touchdown Thursday, had a ball bounce off his chest Friday and had another drop Saturday.

Winfree also continues to learn Maryland's playbook and refine his technique and route running.

"He’s picking it up quickly,” Edsall said, “and we’ll see if he can stay consistent now and keep getting better as we go through these next two weeks.”

Winfree is likely to end up redshirting this season, considering Maryland's depth at wide receiver and the improvements he still has to make. However, he is being given an opportunity to compete for a role during camp and has been seeing some time with the second-team offense.

Winfree was listed as a fourth-team wide receiver entering the preseason, but junior wide receiver Nigel King transferring has created an opportunity for Winfree and others.

“We’re trying to find the best guys that we can," Edsall said.

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