2016 Terps Season Preview: Wide Receivers
After a 2015 season that saw the Terrapins throw the ball just 29% of the time, the wide receiving corps is ready to make a much bigger impact during the 2016 season. New offensive coordinator Walt Bell brings an up-tempo spread offensive scheme with him to College Park, one that will certainly be more friendly to the team’s wide receivers than former offensive coordinator/interim head coach Mike Locksley’s scheme.
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2016 Terps Season Preview: The Series
Running Backs: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-season-preview-running-backs/
Levern Jacobs (Redshirt Senior)
2016 Projection: Starter (H-Back)
2015 Statistics: 35 catches, 425 yards, 3 TD; 2 carries, 8 yards, 0 TD
Jacobs will return for his final season in College Park in 2016, and is slated to start alongside his brother, Taivon. Levern was Maryland’s leading receiver last season, racking up just over 400 receiving yards and a few touchdowns. However, those numbers are primarily due to the general ineptitude of the team’s passing attack last season, not Jacobs’ talent level. His breakout season came in 2013, when he took over the starting slot receiver role after Stefon Diggs broke his leg. He finished that year with 47 catches for 640 yards and 3 touchdowns.
I have projected Jacobs to start at the H-Back position in Bell’s spread offense, which is essentially a slot receiver/scat-back role. He may see a few more carries this season than in the past, but will get most of his touches on crossing routes and screen passes. His experience and reliability will be a big asset for whoever is taking the snaps for the Terrapins this season.
Taivon Jacobs (Redshirt Junior)
2016 Projection: Starter (Flanker)
2015 Statistics: 21 catches, 264 yards, 2 TD
Levern’s brother enters his fourth season in College Park, after having his first fully healthy season last year. He finished third on the team in receiving yards and receptions last season. He never caught more than 4 passes in a game, but made the most of each reception he made. His best game came against South Florida, when he caught 2 passes for 84 yards, featuring a 70-yard touchdown reception. He is the fastest wide receiver on the team, and plays much bigger than his 5-foot-9 frame.
I have projected Jacobs to be Maryland’s starting flanker receiver for the 2016 season. He will start alongside his brother Levern for the second season in a row. He will probably serve as the team’s top deep threat, getting most of his touches off of play-action passes. However, Bell will also get him quick touches in space on a variety of screen passes.
D.J. Moore (Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Starter (Split End)
2015 Statistics: 25 catches, 357 yards, 3 TD; 1 carry, 9 yards, 0 TD
Moore was one of the lone bright spots for Maryland’s offense last season. As a true freshman, he ranked second on the team in receiving yards and receptions, and tied for first on the team in touchdown receptions. He began the season as Amba Etta-Tawo’s backup, but gradually took over as a starter by the year’s end. His best games came against Ohio State and Wisconsin, where he averaged over 20 yards per catch. He uses his size very well, and exhibited excellent ball skills as a freshman.
I have projected Moore to start at the split end receiver position for the Terrapins in 2016. With the departure of Etta-Tawo, there won’t be much competition for the starting job. Moore’s breakout freshman season bodes well for the future of Maryland’s wide receiving corps. Look for Bell to get him the ball in a number of different ways, on quick screens and short-to-intermediate routes such as curls, digs, and outs. He should also be a primary target on third downs.
Malcolm Culmer (Redshirt Senior)
2016 Projection: Second-Team (Flanker)
2015 Statistics: 15 catches, 221 yards, 2 TD; 1 carry, 11 yards, 0 TD
Culmer returns for his final season with the Terrapins in 2016, following his most successful season in his career. After combining for just 6 receptions during the 2013 and 2014 seasons combined, he put together a nice season as a backup wide receiver last year, ranking fourth on the team in receiving yards. His best game came against Penn State, where he caught 3 passes for 65 yards.
I have projected Culmer to be Maryland’s backup flanker receiver in 2016, the same role that he played last season.
DeAndre Lane (Senior)
2016 Projection: Second-Team (H-Back)
2015 Statistics: 9 catches, 152 yards, 1 TD
Lane is another one of the graduating seniors in this year’s Maryland receiving corps. He made his first collegiate reception as a junior last season. He recorded his first touchdown reception against Penn State, but his best games came against Wisconsin and Rutgers. In each of those games, he racked up 63 receiving yards.
I have projected Lane to serve as the team’s backup H-Back, a similar role to the one that he played last season.
Tino Ellis (Freshman)
2016 Projection: Second-Team (Split End)
2015 Statistics (High School): N/A
Ellis comes to College Park as a 4-star recruit out of Hyattsville, MD. He chose Maryland over scholarship offers from numerous other Power Five schools. His athletic abilities are excellent, and he possesses great speed as well as solid hands. He is very similar to Moore, with Ellis being a few inches taller and a bit faster. He will be a very exciting player to watch in Bell’s spread offense over the next few years.
I have projected Ellis to serve as Maryland’s backup split end receiver in 2016. He will be given the opportunity to compete with Moore for snaps, and should push him a good bit for playing time this season.
Jahrvis Davenport (Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Third-Team (H-Back)
2015 Statistics: 11 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD
Davenport put together a very nice season as a backup wide receiver last season, especially for a true freshman. He came to College Park as a 3-star recruit from the state of Florida last season, and showed some nice agility and toughness as a slot receiver. His best game came in the season finale against Rutgers, where he caught 7 passes for 89 yards. He scored his first collegiate touchdown on his first collegiate reception, a 46-yarder against West Virginia.
I have projected Davenport to serve as Maryland’s third-string H-Back this season, though he could split the job with Lane, as he did last season.
Michael Cornwell (Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Third-Team (Flanker)
2015 Statistics: None
Cornwell did not see the field as a true freshman last season, but looks to provide some depth at the flanker position this year. He came to College Park as an unranked recruit last season, having played his high school football at McDonogh School, a powerhouse program in Owings Mills, MD.
I have projected him to serve as the team’s third-string flanker receiver this season.
Josh Bekoe (Senior)
2016 Projection: Third-Team (Split End)
2015 Statistics (Junior College): N/A
Bekoe comes to College Park as a Junior College transfer, having played football for the last few years at Louisburg College. He played his high school football at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, VA.
I have projected him to serve as the team’s third-string split end receiver this season.
Zac Morton (Junior)
2016 Projection: Fourth-Team (H-Back)
2015 Statistics: None
Morton is in his third season with the Terrapins, having played on the scout team for the past few years. I have projected him to serve as the fourth-string H-Back this season.
D.J. Turner (Freshman)
2016 Projection: Redshirt
2015 Statistics (High School): N/A
Turner comes to College Park as a 3-star recruit out of Hyattsville, MD. He joins Ellis as one of two wide receivers in the Class of 2016 out of DeMatha Catholic High School. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the Stags’ first game of last season, and underwent season-ending surgery. However, he should be ready to play by the time he reaches College Park for summer practice.
I have projected Turner to redshirt during his freshman season with the Terrapins. There is a lot of talent above him on the H-Back depth chart, but he will get a chance to compete for the starting job in 2017, when Jacobs will have graduated. He may also get the chance to serve as a returner this season, but that also seems unlikely due to the presence of William Likely.
Zack is a financial analyst for a defense contractor in Washington, DC. The Owings Mills native focuses most of his efforts on Maryland Football recruiting and individual coach and player pieces; but also covers Terps Basketball. He has established relationships with Big Ten beat reporters across the conference, which he utilizes in his game previews. Now a Sr. Terps Analyst for BSL, Zack can be reached at: [email protected]