Maryland's William Likely making quick recovery from torn ACL

For much of Maryland's Pro Day on Wednesday, William Likely III stood off to the side, his head obscured by the hood on his sweatshirt, waiting for a chance to show how much he had recovered from the torn ACL last fall that ended his college career.

When he finally removed his sweats and took part in the defensive pass drill — the only on-field activity for the 5-foot-7, 175-pound cornerback — Likely appeared to have much of his quickness, agility and timing back. He backpedaled, ran and cut, and caught nearly every ball thrown his way.

It seemed to be a significant step for Likely, a first-team All-Big Ten selection on defense in 2014 and 2015, as well as All-America kick and punt returner as a junior. It came a little more than five months after Likely suffered the injury after muffing a fair catch against Minnesota on Oct. 15, ending his senior season

"It felt good to be back at Maryland, to show what I've got for Pro Day, still rehabbing, only five months, it felt amazing," Likely said after the workout. "Just do the little things, show what I can do for a little bit, still progressing my way up."

Likely, who since graduating in December has been continuing to rehabilitate and train in Arizona, only conducted interviews and took intellectual tests at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis earlier this month. A source familiar with Likely's situation said this week that Likely has been invited to the league's combine retest in Indianapolis before the NFL draft, which starts April 27.

Asked how close he is to being 100 percent, Likely said: "Pretty close, I've been moving pretty good. My trainer, he was impressed the way I was moving. We still not want to rush things, keep the flow steady and when the time is right … I'll definitely be ready. By [training] camp time, I'll definitely be 100 percent."

Teams have expressed interest in him as a return specialist as well as a cornerback, Likely said. Reportedly considered to be a third- or fourth-round round pick had he left Maryland after his junior year, Likely might be undrafted this year because of his size and the fact that he is coming back from a serious injury.

Likely said he and his agent, former Maryland football player Chad Wiestling, have "about five or six" visits set up with NFL teams. Wiestling declined to comment about Likely's draft status or his recovery when reached by telephone earlier this week.

Asked what kind of feedback he has received from scouts, Likely said: "They've been very impressed, me being out five months. They thought I was only going to be able to do one or two drills. I like where I'm at. I feel good, I feel healthy, just staying focused and keeping straight away."

Likely was among 17 players — including former Terps Brad Craddock and Spencer Myers — who worked Wednesday for 27 scouts representing 24 NFL teams. While Likely and most of his former teammates were showing skills at positions they played in college, Roman Braglio (McDonogh) was going back to the future.

"Kind of getting back to my high school roots of playing a lot of positions, different sports," Braglio said. "I'm used to moving around. Just trying to bring back that athletic ability that I had one day."  

Braglio worked out as both a linebacker and on the defensive line at Wednesday's Pro Day.

"Just being versatile, being able to do both is a great thing to have under my belt," Braglio said. "When I went down there [to the facility in Georgia where he's been working out], they told me that I was explosive enough, fast enough to play linebacker. Come here and do some drills and get my foot in the door."

Asked what the biggest difference has been in adjusting to linebacker, Braglio said: "Open space. As a D-lineman, there's no space, you've got to be quick in a phone booth. Linebacker or outside pass rusher, you've got space."

Braglio said he will work out with the Ravens on Monday.

"The Ravens training facility is like 10 minutes from my house," Braglio said. "It would be cool to play with another local team. It would be awesome."     

don.markus@baltsun.com

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