CHICAGO -- As Stefon Diggs tells it, Taivon Jacobs has that special kind of speed.
Maryland has other fast players, whether it be Diggs or fellow starting wide receiver Deon Long. But Jacobs is apparently in a class by himself.
“He’s the fastest human I’ve ever seen run,” Diggs said of Jacobs, a redshirt freshman wide receiver. “He’s very talented. He works hard. … And I’m going to tell you now, it’s a name you want to know early because you will hear a lot from Taivon Jacobs.”
Jacobs, the younger brother of Maryland receiver Levern Jacobs, was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN when he signed with the Terps out of Suitland High last year.
He redshirted last fall but will have a chance to compete for a role this season.
“I’m sure [offensive coordinator Mike] Locksley and coach [Randy] Edsall will figure out some way to get the ball in his hands at some point during the season,” said cornerback Jeremiah Johnson, who also graduated from Suitland.
The biggest question mark about Jacobs is his size. He is listed at just 5-foot-9, 160 pounds.
But Maryland wants to find ways to take advantage of that speed.
Diggs recalls one 7-on-7 passing session this summer when he was on the field with Jacobs and backup quarterback Caleb Rowe.
On one play, Rowe took a snap from somewhere around his own 10-yard line. Recognizing one-on-one coverage, Rowe took just a three-step drop before letting go of a pass for Jacobs down the sideline that Diggs says was in the air for almost 50 yards.
Jacobs could not have been more than 20 or 30 yards down the field when Rowe released the ball, but Diggs can remember watching from the middle of the field as Jacobs raced down the field to catch the ball in stride before running another 40 yards or so to the end zone.
“I’ve never seen someone run that fast,” Diggs said. “And it just showed how his speed can affect the game.”
Maryland is deep at wide receiver. Aside from Diggs and Long, the Terps have four other receivers who have either started multiple games or caught more than 30 passes in a season. Jacobs enters next week's practices listed as a backup at one of Maryland’s three receiver spots.
But whether it is on offense or special teams, the Terps will try to find ways to take advantage of the player starting quarterback C.J. Brown says “literally just flies” and “floats off the field.”
“He’s definitely a young guy to keep an eye out for,” Brown said.