The excitement was obvious in Caleb Rowe's voice as the quarterback broke down one of Maryland's newest receiving threats on the outside. Freshman D.J. Moore was elevated atop the depth chart at one of the Terps' receiving spots, and he's set to make his first career start against South Florida on Saturday.

The Philadelphia native has already impressed, including with a 42-yard catch and run for a touchdown against Bowling Green last week when he almost lost his footing before jetting into the end zone for his first career score.


And Rowe praised Moore's ascension with the Terps, even putting him into rarefied air with one of the most recent dangerous Maryland wide receivers.

"D.J.'s just so explosive," Rowe said. "You saw it last week on that slant that he caught. I almost don't want to say it, but it looked Stef-like a little bit."

It probably won't be the first time Moore gets compared to current Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. After all, Moore is wearing the same No. 1 that Diggs donned during his three years in College Park. And against South Florida, the Terps are hoping that Moore can bring some of the same playmaking ability he flashed in the first two games.

Moore will be part of a new look Maryland offense with Rowe under center and Moore, Taivon Jacobs and Levern Jacobs on the outside.

"Me and D.J. have been together all camp, so I pretty much have a feel for how he plays," Taivon Jacobs said. "I know what he can and what he can't do, and I'm confident in his ability. He's a great player. He has great potential, and I feel like he's going to be a great aspect to the team along down the road too."

So far this season, Moore has three catches for 65 yards and his score. He caught two passes for 23 yards in the season opener, and against Bowling Green, he made a tough third-down catch on the sideline that was ruled incomplete and upheld after review, even though it appeared he got one foot in bounds.

The former four-star recruit from Imhotep Charter was one of the top recruits in Maryland's Class of 2015. He's impressed his coaches and teammates with his ability and how he'sadapted to the college game. And now Saturday, he'll get his shot to be a top option for Rowe.

"He's still learning," Rowe said. "He's a freshman, he'll mess up, but he's going to be a good player."

Craddock rebounds, continues kickoff improvement

The numbers after Maryland's opener against Richmond were impressive for kicker Brad Craddock as he began his defense of the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker: five made point after attempts, three made field goals.

But his two misses — an extra point in the second quarter and a 28-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter — stood out above all, especially for a kicker who was perfect up until the final quarter of the regular season last year.

"We found out Brad Craddock was human today," coach Randy Edsall said after the 50-21 victory.

Craddock, though, returned to form in Maryland's 48-27 loss to Bowling Green with three made point after attempts and two made field goals. And he's put those opening weekend struggles behind him.

"I know what to do," Craddock said Tuesday. "I've done it before, and I got away from it a little bit that first week. I think I got a little bit too excited and just came to be out there and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform, and I just need to sit back, relax and trust what I do. I feel a lot better now and I'm looking forward to this week for sure."


Craddock gave the Terps a unique weapon last season. He was 11 of 12 on field goals of more than 40 yards, including a school-record 57-yarder in Maryland's loss to Ohio State last October. He allowed the Terps to still come away from drives with points even if the offense wasn't hitting on all cylinders.

The one area that Craddock needed improvement on was his kickoffs. Last season, he ranked 52nd nationally in touchback percentage, kicking only 38.67 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone. Currently, he's ranked 24th with 68.75 percent, a marked improvement from a year ago. Craddock said he emphasized lengthening his kickoffs in the offseason, and he's seen that improvement carry over.

The Australian also broke out another weapon in Maryland's 48-27 loss to Bowling Green: a pooch punt. After the Terps offense stalled out at the Falcons 40-yard line, Edsall sent Craddock onto the field to punt. The senior didn't even have a chance to warm up before bouncing his Australian Rules Football-style kick at the 5 and into safety A.J. Hendy's waiting arms at the 1.

Edsall said that Craddock was better at shorter punts than freshman Nicolas Pritchard, who won the punting job in August, so he sent him out in that situation.

"It's that end-over-end kick," said Craddock, who was originally recruited to Maryland as a punter. "It's the exact same I've done since I was 4, so yeah, it felt pretty natural."

After a shaky start to the season, Craddock is back on track. And somehow, he's found more areas to improve to make himself even more versatile for the Terps.



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