Terps Football: 2019 Season Preview – Quarterbacks
Over the course of the last five seasons, ten different quarterbacks have taken snaps for the Maryland Terrapins. Due to both injuries and poor performance, this constant turnover has made it impossible to find offensive stability. With two new signal-callers coming on board this year, that number could potentially get even higher. However new head coach Michael Locksley is hoping that his regime is the one to find consistency behind center, and the competition for the starting job this summer will be the first step in that process.
This is the first in what will be a series of articles previewing Maryland football’s 2019 season on a position-by-position basis. Be sure to check in regularly, and give your thoughts on my projections at the link below.
(Discuss this article on the BSL Message Board here.)
This article has been edited. Kasim Hill has been removed after entering the transfer portal and being deleted from Maryland’s official roster. Eric Najarian has been added after joining the team as a preferred walk-on.
Tyrrell Pigrome (Redshirt Junior)
2019 Projection: Starter
2018 Statistics: 37/67 (55.2%), 561 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT; 58 carries, 159 yds (2.7 ypc), 1 TD
Pigrome spent the majority of 2018 as Kasim Hill’s backup, receiving a few snaps here and there as a mobile counter to a more traditional pocket-passer. But when Hill suffered his second season-ending knee injury in as many years in the team’s game against Indiana, Pigrome was forced into action as the starter for Maryland’s final two games. He’ll most be remembered for coming inches away from an upset of 3rd-ranked Ohio State in College Park, nearly shocking the entire world of college football.
I’ve projected Pigrome to be Maryland’s starting quarterback in 2019, but it’s a job he’ll certainly have to earn this summer. He didn’t play in the team’s spring game due to an injury, but he did fully participate in the practice throughout the last few months. His early exposure and experience with Locksley’s playbook ought to give him a leg up on the incoming signal-callers who will only have about a month to prepare for the season. He’ll need to show improvement on his short- and mid-range throws, but he’d give the team a true dual-threat option behind center.
Josh Jackson (Redshirt Junior)
2019 Projection: Second-Team
2018 Statistics: 36/58 (62.1%), 575 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT; 20 carries, 61 yds (3.1 ypc), 1 TD
Jackson will be arriving in College Park this summer after transferring from Virginia Tech, where he spent two seasons as the Hokies’ starting quarterback. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the team’s third game of 2018 against Old Dominion. In 2017 he started every game for head coach Justin Fuente, throwing for just under 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for over 300 yards and 6 scores. He likely presents the biggest threat to Pigrome in their future competition, and whoever emerges will likely have been made better by the other.
I’ve projected Jackson to serve as Pigrome’s backup this season, but he’ll be given every chance to win the starting job when he arrives this summer. However for now, Pigrome has about 7 months more experience in Locksley’s offense which gives him a slight edge.
Max Bortenschlager (Redshirt Junior)
2019 Projection: Third-Team
2018 Statistics: None
Bortenschlager served as the team’s holder for field goals in the first three games of the year, but suffered a season-ending ankle injury and received a medical redshirt. The majority of his time on the field with the Terrapins came in 2017 after both Pigrome and Hill suffered season-ending knee injuries in the first three weeks of the year. He started all but one of the remaining games that year, throwing for over 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding 2 more scores on the ground.
I’ve projected Bortenschlager to spend 2019 behind Pigrome and Jackson on the depth chart, and he’ll most likely be competing with Tyler DeSue and Lance LeGendre for that third-string job this summer. He’ll have the upper hand due to experience, but will need to perform similarly to his impressive Red-White Spring Game showing in order to fend off the two young signal-callers.
Tyler DeSue (Redshirt Freshman)
2019 Projection: Fourth-Team
2018 Statistics: 2/2 (100.0%), 16 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT; 4 carries, 5 yds (1.3 ypc), 0 TD
DeSue appeared in four games last season, primarily in mop-up duty. It was good experience for the four-star true freshman, and still allowed him to redshirt. He performed extremely well in the team’s Red-White Spring Game a few weeks ago, and was named the Boomer Esiason Spring Game Most Valuable Player by members of the media. He completed 23 of his 35 passes for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game.
I’ve projected DeSue to serve as the fourth-string quarterback in 2019, but he’ll likely compete with Bortenschlager for the third-string spot behind Pigrome and Jackson. He showed more than enough this spring to warrant a spot in the conversation about the future of the quarterback position at Maryland, but will need to continue to impress in order to stand out in a growing field of talented signal-callers.
Donny Sanders (Redshirt Sophomore)
2019 Projection: Fifth-Team
2018 Statistics: Did Not Play
Sanders is a walk-on from McLean, Virginia who was added to the team’s roster during the spring. He spent the 2017 season as a tight end with Syracuse, but left after serving a redshirt season. With just 3 healthy quarterbacks in camp, Locksley needed to add another camp body and Sanders has filled that role.
I’ve projected Sanders to serve as the team’s fifth-string signal-caller in 2019. He almost certainly won’t see the field, but will play an important role on the scout team as a big, mobile quarterback.
Lance LeGendre (Freshman)
2019 Projection: Redshirt
2018 Statistics (High School): N/A
In one of the biggest steals of the 2019 recruiting cycle, Locksley stole LeGendre away from Florida State after recruiting him for just a few weeks. A four-star dual-threat quarterback from New Orleans, LeGendre adds another dimension to the quarterback room in College Park. He had offers from countless other programs, including Alabama, Georgia, Miami (FL), and Tennessee.
I’ve projected LeGendre to redshirt during the 2019 season, but that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t see the field. He’ll be given every opportunity to win the starting job this summer, but allowing him time to develop behind Pigrome and Jackson for at least a year or two would likely be ideal.
Eric Najarian (Freshman)
2019 Projection: Redshirt
2018 Statistics (High School): N/A
Najarian was added to the roster as a preferred walk-on during the summer, and will provide scout team depth after Hill’s departure. He served as the starting quarterback for DeMatha Catholic High School last season, and follows his high school head coach to College Park.
I have projected Najarian to redshirt in 2019.
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]