Maryland football wide receiver Rakim Jarrett announced Tuesday that he will forgo the upcoming bowl game and enter the 2023 NFL draft.
In front of reporters and television cameras, Jarrett thanked his family and coaching staff for the last three years and said he knew in the spring that there was a high probability that his junior season would be his last in a Maryland uniform.
“I was trying to do as much as possible to [put] my name in [Maryland football] history, help the team win and go to back-to-back bowl games,” he said.
Jarrett is the third Maryland wide receiver to declare for the draft, joining Dontay Demus Jr. and Jacob Copeland, all of whom will be skipping the Duke Mayo’s Bowl against NC State in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dec. 30.
Maryland coach Mike Locksley said he invited other players to announce their draft decisions in front of the media, but Jarrett was one of the few to accept the offer.
“What I will like to see as we continue to develop as a program is our players come up [in front of reporters] and share their intentions,” Locksley said. “Many times they can hide behind a [social media post], thanking people and declaring for the draft. [But] I think the part of teaching young people is [understanding] the importance of being able to communicate.”
Locksley and Jarrett, who played at St. John’s College High School in Washington, developed a strong bond over the years. The fourth-year coach said the former five-star recruit elevated the program by choosing the Terps over LSU. According to 247Sports, he ranks as Maryland’s fifth-highest-rated commitment.
Jarrett said Locksley stood on everything he told him back in high school, from getting a chance to star early in his career to having an opportunity to be drafted into the NFL.
“Coach [Locksley] is the right guy for the job,” Jarrett said. “I believe in him to turn this program around and eventually be Big Ten champions.”
In three seasons, Jarrett had 119 receptions for 1,552 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 13 yards per catch. He became the Terps’ go-to wide receiver last season and was named All-Big Ten honorable mention after their top wideouts, Demus and Jeshaun Jones, suffered season-ending injuries. He led Maryland with 62 catches for 829 yards and five touchdowns, including three games with more than 100 receiving yards.
Jarrett’s stats declined this season — 40 receptions for 471 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games — as Maryland relied on its depth at wide receiver and ran the ball more. His best game was the season-opening victory against Buffalo when he had six catches for 110 yards.
Jarrett said he is fully healthy after missing the regular-season finale against Rutgers because of to a knee injury.
“I just hyperextended my knee [and] there was a little swelling,” he said. “I think I could’ve [played] but I would’ve had to brace it up.”
As a freshman, Jarrett needed one game against Penn State to showcase his pro potential. He caught five passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns to help the Terps beat the Nittany Lions in a shortened 2020 season.
“You don’t have to go to the big-name schools to do what you want to do in life,” Jarrett said. “It’s up to the player, not where you are at.”
Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Maryland vs. No. 23 NC State
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Friday, Dec. 30, noon
Radio: 105.7 FM
Line: Maryland by 1 1/2