Maryland cornerback Cameron Chism started 32 straight games from 2009 until being benched near the end of last season. He is one of just three players in school history -- Curome Cox and Bob Haley are the others -- with two interception returns for touchdowns (Miami and Clemson games of 2011) in the same season.
Like the Terps as a whole, Chism, a criminology and criminal science major from Washington D.C., didn’t have the sort of 2011 season he aspired to. But he finished his career having played in 44 games -- 34 under former coach Ralph Friedgen and 10 under Randy Edsall -- and had seven interceptions.
The Chism interview is the first in a new Baltimore Sun series called "The Last Word." Departing Maryland football and men’s basketball players will candidly reflect on their college careers. Their accounts will be featured in their own words.
Chism, who is preparing for graduation and hopes to play in the NFL, was interviewed by Jeff Barker, The Sun’s Maryland beat writer.
Your streak of consecutive starts ended in November. How difficult was that?
"It was very difficult. I didn't think I was playing that bad where I needed to be sat down. It was kind of rough. I feel like even when I had bad times with other coaches, they would still have faith in me. It would be like, 'C'mon Chism, get up!' I guess they lost faith in me."
The media made a big deal of the coaching transition that occurred after your junior year. How difficult was the transition?
"I don't think it was as difficult as the media made it seem. It was different. [Edsall] said, 'This was how it was going to be.' Everything was just new. And we had to adjust. [The seniors] had been under Friedgen for three years. I think the media did give Edsall a hard time. The media may have jumped on him."
What were the most memorable moments of your career? I'm guessing the interception-return touchdown in the opener against Miami last season was one of them?
"That would definitely be one of them. And the Duke hit from my sophomore year. The N.C. State hit from my junior year. The interception against Clemson this year for a touchdown. And the Miami touchdown."
Maryland lost a 27-point, third-quarter lead at N.C. State. What were you thinking as that was unfolding?
"Unfortunately, I was on the bench. From Notre Dame (the 10th game of the season) on, I played like four plays. I would come off the bench and run in and play a play – that type of thing. It was pretty frustrating watching that [N.C. State game] from the bench knowing I could be out there."
What's next for Cameron Chism? Have you had your eye on the NFL for a long time?
"I've been thinking about it for awhile -- since eighth grade or seventh grade. A lot of people didn't know how fast I was. My main focus was speed. So I went out [during the recent pro timing day] and ran a 4.4 40. I have heart, good hands, good speed. And I never get rattled."