There were some notable no-shows when Maryland's freshman football players reported for preseason practice yesterday.
Dermal Brown, a tailback out of Newburgh, N.Y., who signed a letter of intent with the Terps last February, opted to continue contract negotiations -- and appears close to a deal -- with the Kansas City Royals rather than begin practicing at Maryland. Brown, who attended freshman orientation at Maryland this summer, was the 14th selection overall in the June free-agent baseball draft.
Maryland coach Mark Duffner had expected the tailback to show up for camp after Brown turned down a Royals offer worth nearly $1 million.
"As of yesterday [Sunday] afternoon, he told me he was coming," Duffner said yesterday. "Kansas City improved its offer late last night and called him around midnight. I don't know if he's signed yet, but he's agreed to terms. Obviously, they don't want him to play football. We knew way back this was a possibility."
Two other recruits, quarterback Malik Campbell and punter Sean Starner, could report to practice as soon as the NCAA's eligibility clearinghouse approves their final certification.
Campbell, 6 feet 3 and 190 pounds, was considered one of the top quarterback prospects in New York last year and is the only quarterback in this Terps recruiting class. Starner, of Cedar Cliff, Pa., could punt for the Terps as a freshman.
"We expect Malik and Sean to report here as soon as they are cleared," Duffner said. "The process is currently ongoing. Many schools across the nation are working with this process as the new players report."
Duffner also said that four redshirt freshmen who did not play last season have decided not to return to the team this fall. Running back Darnell Eatman, defensive back Derrick Johnson, offensive lineman Brad Messina and linebacker Julian Richardson were members of the 1995 recruiting class.
When asked if these players were academically eligible to play, Duffner declined to comment. However, all four players missed time during spring practice due to academic deficiencies.
These losses raise the total to six freshmen who reported to Maryland last August and have since left the team. Two other freshmen left the team earlier this year.
The Terps received an addition with the transfer of Bryn Boggs, a defensive back and kick returner who played at Wisconsin last year. Boggs will sit out this season and have three years remaining.
Veterans report Thursday to Maryland, which opens its season on Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois at Byrd Stadium. The Terps are seeking their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1984-85.
Meanwhile, former McDonogh School star quarterback Bobby Sabelhaus, who said he will not report to the University of Florida for the start of practice next week, still has not asked the Gators for a release from his scholarship. Bobby's father, Robert, said he and his son have discussed the possibility of transferring to other programs, including Maryland, if Bobby asks for his release.
If Sabelhaus leaves, he would have to sit out a year before playing again. Sabelhaus, a redshirt freshman this year, was a 1994 Gatorade All-American and The Baltimore Sun's 1994 Player of the Year.
Pub Date: 8/06/96