College Sports

Notebook: Maryland quarterback battle heating up


When Maryland football coach Randy Edsall brought in Oklahoma State transfer quarterback Daxx Garman in late May, the move could have been looked at a few different ways.


Aside from the since-graduated C.J. Brown, the Terrapins haven't had much of a consistent presence at the position for the better part of a decade. Senior Caleb Rowe is coming off his second torn anterior cruciate ligament surgery, and junior Perry Hills presents another threat for the starting job.

With three candidates to start on the roster, Edsall made his intentions behind adding Garman clear at the team's media day Monday.


"I didn't bring anybody in here to be an insurance policy," said Edsall during his press conference in the Gossett Team House at Byrd Stadium. "We bring people in here because we feel they can compete and start and help us win in the Big Ten."

Rowe has faced his share of adversity during his career in College Park. Though the senior missed most of last season, injuries at the position have given him the opportunities for meaningful playing time since his freshman year.

That's why he's not sweating the addition of Garman to the depth chart — which currently features a three-way tie at quarterback heading into preseason practices.

"I don't shy away from competition, and I don't think either one of these guys would either," Rowe said. "It's just about who can be the best quarterback for this team, and who the guys really rally around."

This is Garman's third stop during his collegiate career. After redshirting as a freshman at Arizona, he moved onto Stillwater for two seasons.

He didn't see time for the Cowboys as a sophomore in 2013, but appeared in nine games the following season, totaling 2,041 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.

Garman said he looked at a few schools in both the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, though he didn't specify which. He said he chose Maryland because of the coaching staff's offensive vision.

As far as competing for a starting job, he said it's going to bring out the best in everyone.


"Perry and Caleb, they're great guys. We have a great relationship, all three of us," Garman said. "I'm just really excited what's going to go on. I mean, at the end of the day, the best guy is going to play, and that's going to be the best thing for the team."

Defensive battles, changes

With Keith Dudzinski's promotion to defensive coordinator also comes a change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. Returning experience of players like senior Yannick Ngakoue — a 2015 Butkus Award Watch List selection — will anchor that shift, even if he is moving to a position on the line.

"But, for everybody, that position, you can just really tee off when it's third-and-long," he said. "You've got a chance to really get off the ball and put pressure on the quarterback."

As for linebackers, Dudzinski said he's excited to see what junior Abner Logan and sophomore Jermaine Carter can do, along with some of the incoming freshmen. In the secondary, seniors Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon once again join junior Will Likely, who the defensive coordinator lauded as one of the team's hardest workers.

"If we can get all our guys to buy in the way he goes after getting ready every day, it's really something special," he added. "As much as he gets all the accolades and people like to talk about him, he's humble, he wants to be the best player he can possibly be. And he works hard at it, both physically and mentally."


McCardell on Diggs' preseason promise

Former Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs shined during Sunday's Hall of Fame Game — his NFL preseason debut. The Minnesota Vikings fifth-round selection fielded a punt in the third quarter against the Steelers and returned it 62 yards before being tripped up at the goal line.

Maryland wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell said that he had been exchanging texts with his former position coach, NFL Hall of Famer James Lofton, regarding Diggs' prospects in the league.

"I said, 'Yeah, I would say he left too early, but he's talented enough to be there,'" McCardell said. "I said I wish I had him another year for teaching purposes, but he's talented enough to be there, and I felt like he's one of the most dynamic guys with the ball in his hands, if not the most dynamic guy that came out last year with the ball in his hands."

McCardell said was looking forward to watching his former player's progression through the preseason. While Diggs' position on the team isn't guaranteed, McCardell said it's important that he continues to show improvement, because there are 31 other organizations watching.

"And it's not bad to make a play on national television that's for someone to see it," he added.


Terps mostly healthy

Edsall said the team enters camp mostly healthy. Offensive lineman Derwin Gray (shoulder) and tight end Andrew Isaacs (knee) will be limited this August, while freshman defensive end Adam McLean, who suffered a torn ACL during his senior season at Quince Orchard, will miss fall practice.

Other players returning from injuries — wide receiver Taivon Jacobs (knee), defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson (knee), defensive lineman Brett Kulka (undisclosed) and defensive lineman David Shaw (knee) — might be limited if the Terps have two-a-days.

"For the most party, everybody else is good," Edsall said. "There are going to be a few guys that we might have to monitor a little bit if we go two-a-days, which we don't have a lot because the way the rules are with the NCAA."

Edsall also said that all players are eligible to play this season.

Staff writer Daniel Gallen contributed to this article.