Defensive Back Preview: Dexter McDougle
Image Credit: The Diamondback
2012 Statistics: 71 tackles (58 solo, 13 assisted), 5.92 tackles/game; 3.0 TFL, 25 yards; 0 INT, 0 yards, 0 TDs; 1 PR, 1 yard, 0 TDs
Dexter McDougle enters 2013 as the Terps’ most experienced defensive back on a very good unit. He was 3rd on the team in tackles last season, and first among the defensive backs. He is a very balanced player who is able to make big plays but is also able to be a good cover corner. His ability to team up with Jeremiah Johnson to lock down the opposition’s best receivers will be key to taking some of the pressure off of the young safeties and linebackers.
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McDougle was a running back and a defensive back at Stafford High School in Falmouth, VA and put up very good numbers there. He was so talented on both sides of the ball that most scouts labeled him as an “athlete”. He was mostly a consensus 3-star recruit, and chose Maryland over Akron, James Madison, Richmond, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary.
He redshirted in his first year at Maryland, and played as a reserve cornerback in his redshirt freshman year before breaking his collarbone. He improved in his sophomore year and became a starter. But his best season was last season, his junior year. As mentioned above, he was 3rd on the team in tackles and 1st among the defensive backs. He broke up 5 passes and had 3 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He didn’t get any interceptions, but was impressive with his coverage skills. There were times that he was blamed for getting beat on deep passes, but part of that was probably due to inexperienced safeties.
The Terps’ defensive backfield is returning a good number of players in 2013, and should be the best unit on the defense (at least to start the season). McDougle is one of 3 very solid cornerbacks, and the inexperienced safeties from last season have a little more experience for this season. The hope is that the entire defense will force more turnovers (only 4 interceptions in 2012) and McDougle will be counted on to make those turnovers happen. Overall this unit seems to be very good, and McDougle should only get better in 2013.