Duffner has recruited share of woes QB is particular problem in his bid to improve team

November 12, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK — An article in Tuesday's editions regarding Maryland's recruiting under football coach Mark Duffner incorrectly reported the number of offensive linemen recruited in 1992. The Terrapins signed three, including Erik Greenstein, who is Maryland's starting center. The other two left the university.

The Sun regrets the error.

COLLEGE PARK -- Mark Duffner has either had too many quarterbacks or too few.

The first recruiting class signed by Duffner, in February 1992, included three prospective passers. A month later, when he opened his first spring practice, six scholarship quarterbacks lined up.

When Maryland rallied to beat winless Duke last month, the Terps' quarterback was a sophomore transfer from Division II who came here hoping to catch on as a wide receiver.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Injuries, defections and the vagaries of recruiting have played havoc with Duffner and his plans to resurrect Maryland football.

"I can't help but think had not Brian Cummings gotten hurt," Duffner said, "our offense would have been more productive than it's been."

Maryland's offense, ranked 104th among the 111 teams in Division I-A, has struggled since Cummings suffered a concussion and a shoulder separation Sept. 14 at Virginia. Redshirt freshman Ken Mastrole broke his collarbone Oct. 26 at Duke and was relieved by Keon Russell, the transfer from American International.

Cummings was back for the Clemson game on Nov. 2, but it didn't matter, as Maryland was handed its worst loss of the season, 35-3. He'll start Thursday night against Georgia Tech, but Duffner knows that another injury to Cummings would put even more stress on his offense.

It's a far cry from Duffner's first three seasons, when Maryland was rarely at a loss for quarterbacks or points.

Take 1994, when junior Scott Milanovich was coming off a record-setting season, Kevin Foley was a sophomore and Cummings was a freshman. The flip side to the depth, however, was that recruits steered clear. Aaron Brooks signed with Virginia, Eric Moore went to Oklahoma and Maryland didn't get a quarterback in 1994.

"What you learn from this is that you always sign a quarterback every year," recruiting coordinator Jim Miceli said. "We weren't attracting the blue, blue chips because of our record and the fact that we already had three good kids lined up."

Maryland brought in two quarterbacks last year, Mastrole and Trey Evans, but its only signee this year didn't meet the NCAA academic requirements for freshman eligibility.

The quarterback problem has been exacerbated by a lack of depth on the offensive line.

The Terps signed four offensive linemen this year, and they needed to. Two of the three they signed in 1995 left school after one semester; two of the three they signed in 1993 didn't pan out; and neither of the two from Duffner's first recruiting class, in 1992, stayed.

The class that arrived in 1993 was the first that Duffner had an entire year to cultivate. Like the ones that followed it, it was mentioned as a top 25 class by one of the recruiting gurus. Allen Wallace tabbed it the 21st best in the nation, but the first three names his Superprep publication mentioned were telling -- kicker Lonnie Callichio, running back Keno Shawell and offensive lineman Ron "Bam-Bam" White. All three had problems related to academics and never played for Maryland.

That 1993 class still had plenty of plums, and it could provide half of Thursday night's starters. As true freshmen, seven played defense on a unit that was pushed around, but they grew up. This season, the Terps rank 22nd in the nation in yards allowed.

The vast majority of Duffner's recruits who survived their freshman year stayed at Maryland. Duffner and two of his assistant coaches work with the academic advising department to ensure that players are making progress toward degrees, but Maryland won't score well in the NCAA's graduation reports on the classes that arrived in 1991 and 1992.

Only four of the 17 freshman recruits in ex-coach Joe Krivak's last class, 1991, completed their eligibility, and nine of the 19 freshmen in Duffner's first class left Maryland.

There have been other disappointments. Duffner viewed junior colleges as a quick fix, but none of the 12 players from two-year schools who have received scholarships since 1994 has become a regular starter. After five years of recruiting, there are still five starters, including the two specialists, who came to Maryland as walk-ons.

"We're thin in some areas," Duffner said. "Recruiting is how you improve."

Making the grade?

Maryland's graduation rates for football

In researching graduation rates, the NCAA tracks the number of freshmen on scholarship who graduate within six years. The NCAA average is for Division I-A only:

......... Incom. .. Grad. .. NCAA

Year .... fresh. .. rate ... avg.

'84-85 .. 16-20 ... 32% ..... 47%

'85-86 .. 16-20 ... 50% ..... 48%

'86-87 .. 20-plus.. 48% ..... 53%

'87-88 .. 20-plus.. 54% ..... 55%

'88-89 .. 20-plus.. 73% ..... 56%

'89-90 .. 16-20 ... 71% ..... 56%

Retention rates

A look at how many Maryland recruits have stayed in school. Includes those still on team, those who have completed eligibility and those who left football but remained at Maryland:

....... Incoming .. Stayed at

Year .. freshmen .. Maryland

'90-91 ...... 18 ........ 13

'91-92 ...... 17 ......... 5

'92-93 ...... 19 ........ 10

'93-94 ...... 20 ........ 15

'94-95 ...... 19 ........ 16

'95-96 ...... 18 ........ 12

Pub Date: 11/12/96

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