The Outlook for Football Season: Part Two

6/29/2010 11:33:25 AM After the relentless optimism of Part One, the indefinitely long series returns with an analysis of the incoming recruits. I'll only break down the recruits that have chances of playing this year. Guys like Tyrek Cheeseboro, Matt Robinson or Ian Evans aren't going to see any love because their shirts are so red they're being attacked by bulls. Luckily for them, USF is going to suck this year. Let's start from the top and work our way down from our best to our least best incoming freshmen.

Javarie Johnson - Unfortunately, after taking all of two weeks to switch his commitment from Miami to Maryland and quickly enrolling in spring classes, Johnson has left the school. I can't say this is is a huge shocker. Rather, it's a huge disappointment. Johnson was the headliner in the class, a stud four-star recruit, the top-ranked player in DC and a legitimately terrifying pass rusher that looked capable of starting right out of the gate. However, the reason he switched his commitment to UMD in the first place was academically motivated - his grades weren't good enough to enroll early at Miami, so we let him. Then, he couldn't handle his first semester of classes, and dropped out, or the more politically correct way of saying that when discussing athletes, decided to transfer. It's a shame, but this was sort of his destiny from Day One. Hopefully he'll get his head on straight eventually and figure out a subject that motivates him.

David Mackall - Described by his coach at Fork Union in Va. as a "Merriman type," Mackall has

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="400" caption="He looks ready"][/caption]

the chance to be an instant impact player as a pass rusher. Although the Terps were fourth in the ACC in sacks, led by Adrian Moten's six, a well-known football mantra is you can never have too many pass-rushers. Mackall at the moment is a little undersized for a defensive end, but that was his position in high school and he wreaked havoc, piling up 12 sacks in his final season. He enrolled early for spring practices, so by the time the season rolls around, he should know the playbook and be a contributor from the get-go. Don't look for him to crack the starting lineup this year, though, with a logjam of the best kind at linebacker and him still being too small for the line. 2011 should be Year of The Mackall, wherever he plays.

Titus Till - I had a chance to talk to Titus a few months back around the signing deadline, and I immediately took a shine to him. First of all, his phone's ringback is the Maryland Victory song, which was awesome. He's from PG county, has rooted for Maryland his whole life, and as soon as Maryland offered him a scholarship, he took it and never looked back. Regardless of how well he plays, he will represent the Terps with loyalty and pride, so we have that to look forward to (how rare is it nowadays?). What else do we have to look forward to? A punishing safety with great size and a nose for the ball. At 6-1, 190 with a frame to add more muscle, he's ideally suited for run support, but is also an asset in the passing game. He provides much needed depth in the secondary, and can back up either Kenny Tate or Antwine Perez right away. He should see double-digit tackles this year, and more than a few absolute de-cleatings.

Sal Conaboy - Yes, we've reached the offensive line. Conaboy is a highly-rated guard prospect (Scout's #12, Rivals #17, ESPN's #21 guard), with great size (he's 6-5) but needs to add some bulk (only 255 lbs.). The guy is an absolute beast in the running game, with great feet, a knack for pulling, and hits like a mofo. Scout.com described him as having a "bit of a nasty streak," which sounds like exactly what we've been lacking on the line. He's still a year away because he needs to pack on the weight (eating the Maryland dining hall food will certainly help), but when he gets his shot, I doubt he lets it go. ESPN said he has the size to play at major levels of competition, so ACC football should be a piece of cake for him (zing!).

Desmond Kearse - If his name is familiar to you, it shouldn't come as a surprise. He's cousins with Jevon, otherwise known as "The Freak." Much like his cousin, Desmond is a pass rusher extraordinaire. He accumulated 41 sacks his last two years at Dunbar HS in Florida (thank you Don Brown), thanks to his ridiculous speed. As a defensive end, he relies entirely on his 4.5 speed, which is lucky since he only weighs 180 pounds. There's no way he ever plays in the trenches in college, and there's talk they might push him all the way back to safety. That could work, but I see him more as a pass-rushing specialist on third downs from the OLB spot.

Rahsaan Moore - Although a highly-regard high school defensive end at Henry A. Wise HS in Upper Marlboro (teammates with Till), Moore will play fullback at Maryland. It's hard to imagine a fullback going anywhere and feeling pressure, but Moore will come in with a chance to win the starting job outright, trying to replace the departed Cory Jackson. He has some competition in the form of junior Taylor Watson, but even if Moore loses out initially, he will eventually start for the Terps. He hasn't been playing fullback for long, but he has great size and instincts. Being a former defensive end means he will have no fear in blocking defensive linemen and opening up holes for the armada of Terrapin running backs.

Next time: The returning role players...
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