There was much excitement a year ago after then-freshman quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome raced 24 yards for Maryland's game-winning touchdown in what turned out to be a double-overtime victory at Central Florida.
It even led to some speculation whether Pigrome, who had replaced injured senior starter Perry Hills in the second extra period, would merit consideration at a starter when the Terps opened the Big Ten season against Purdue.
Pigrome, who wound up playing in 11 games and starting one after Hills was later injured at Penn State, saw a preseason filled with questions about who would take over at quarterback this season end when he was named the starter Monday.
Maryland opens the season Saturday against No. 23-ranked Texas in Austin.
Though second-year coach DJ Durkin won't speak publicly about his decision until Tuesday, Pigrome was listed as the starter when the team's two-deep roster was released. Freshman Kasim Hill is listed as No. 2 on the depth chart.
Pigrome, a former Gatorade Alabama High School Player of the Year and two-time runner-up for Mr. Football in his home state, beat out Hill and fellow sophomore Max Bortenschlager and redshirt junior transfer Caleb Henderson.
Many thought the North Carolina transfer had a good chance to become the starter before he suffered a foot injury late in spring practice and then reinjured the foot in preseason camp.
Pigrome's elevation to the starting lineup was expected after he was used with the No. 1 offense almost exclusively the past two weeks, including at an open scrimmage at Maryland Stadium on Aug. 19.
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Pigrome will be making his second career start. A week after replacing Hills in a 38-14 loss in State College, Pigrome started in College Park on homecoming against Minnesota.
Pigrome had several career highs against the Gophers in a 31-10 defeat, completing 18 of 37 passes for 161 yards an a touchdown while rushing 25 times for 71 yards.
But he was also intercepted twice in that game, including one that was returned 82 yards for a touchdown. For the season, Pigrome completed 37 of 71 passes for 322 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Pigrome, who is known primarily for his running, also rushed 62 times for 254 yards — ranking him third on the team behind tailbacks Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison III. Pigrome scored four rushing touchdowns, also third on the team.
Pigrome, who is affectionally known as "Piggy" or "Pig" by his teammates and coaches, played in every game except the Quick Lane Bowl against Boston College.
Though Durkin was not available for comment Monday, he said repeatedly throughout the summer that Pigrome has improved dramatically since his freshman year.
"He's head and shoulders beyond what he was last year," Durkin said during the Big Ten's Media Days in Chicago last month. "He just feels more at ease in the spot. He had a great spring. He's ready to go be a starting quarterback and compete for the job, he certainly is. He has transformed.
"You watch him go through and you say, 'That guy's got a live arm. He's a Division I quarterback. You watch him run as an athlete and all that, you say that guy is a Division I athlete.So now it's, 'OK, can you execute the position and make the right decisions and know where to go with the ball, communicate?' Naturally he's improved on all those things with a year in the system."
First-year Texas coach Tom Herman said Monday on a Big 12 teleconference that the Longhorns have been preparing the past few days as if Pigrome, whom he called a "dynamic runner", would be the starter.
"We're assuming that Pigrome is going to be named the starter, and obviously that adds a huge element to the run game," Herman said a few hours before Maryland's depth chart was released.
The two-deep also revealed that Durkin has reinstated senior linebacker Shane Cockerille (Gilman) to full eligibility. Cockerille was named as a starter alongside fellow seniors Jermaine Carter Jr. and Jalen Brooks.
After being converted by Durkin from quarterback, where he was used sparingly his first two seasons, Cockerille had led the Terps in tackles last season before being suspended for unspecified reasons before the bowl game.
Cockerille sat out spring practice and returned to practice in the preseason, playing mostly with the starting unit.
Aside from Hill, several true freshmen made the two-deep, mostly on offense, including wide receiver Tahj Capehart, offensive tackle Jordan McNair (McDonogh) and center Johnny Jordan.
Three other true freshmen — tight end Noah Barnes and offensive tackle Marcus Minor, as well as linebacker Bryce Brand — were named as co-No. 2s on the depth chart.