Maryland wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. announced Thursday that he will forgo the team’s bowl game to prepare for the 2023 NFL draft, one day after fellow wideout Jacob Copeland announced he would do the same.
After returning from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in October 2021, Demus did not have the year many expected. The Washington native caught 22 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, but his best game came on the biggest stage against No. 5 Ohio State on Nov. 19, when he had five receptions for 67 yards in a 43-30 loss.
Demus is still considered one of the best wideouts in program history. A three-time All-Big Ten honorable mention in five seasons, he finishes his Terps career with 2,008 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 15.7 yards per catch. He ranks seventh in program history in receiving yards, trailing current Carolina Panthers star DJ Moore (2,027).
Demus was considered a mid-round NFL draft pick by several experts last season. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Demus the ninth-best wide receiver in the 2022 draft class after he racked up 507 yards and three touchdowns in the first five games of 2021, including three contests with 100-plus yards.
Demus was on the verge of a breakout performance against then-No. 5 Iowa last year before injuring his knee. He had four receptions for 61 yards in the first quarter, adding to his Big Ten-leading total, before his right leg buckled as he twisted to the ground during a second-quarter kickoff return. He was carted off the field and later ruled out for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Demus put his NFL dreams on hold, electing to return to College Park to reestablish his connection with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and continue to build Maryland’s program. Although the Terps are bowl-eligible for the second straight year and won seven regular-season games for the first time since 2014, Demus never got back to his old self.
He had five games in which he caught only one pass and never exceeded 100 receiving yards. After the loss to the Buckeyes, coach Mike Locksley emphasized Demus was still recovering from the knee injury but was improving.
Copeland announced his decision to skip the bowl game and enter the draft on Wednesday. The Florida transfer, who was one of Locksley’s best pickups, recorded 376 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns this season, including a 110-yard, two-touchdown performance against Charlotte in September.
Meanwhile, starting sophomore tight end CJ Dippre and senior linebacker Ahmad McCullough are among nine Terps to enter the transfer portal. Dippre caught 30 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns after playing in just two games as a freshman. McCullough entered the transfer portal after appearing in 33 games (seven starts) in four seasons. He recorded 45 tackles and a sack in 2022.
Reserve tight end Weston Wolff, defensive back Jayon Venerable, defensive linemen Austin Fontaine and Zion Shockley, offensive lineman Ja’Khi Green and linebackers Kameron Blount and Terrance Butler also announced their intentions to play elsewhere.