Terps' Foxworth young but seasoned

Corner from Western Tech gives UM's secondary `experienced sophomore'

College Football

August 27, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Karin Foxworth was excited about the prospect of doing something nice for her son Domonique, a cornerback for the Maryland football team.

So she brought him his laundry.

Because her son sometimes seems beyond his 19 years, Karin doesn't usually get the chance to do nice things for Domonique, a sophomore from Western Tech in Baltimore County.

On the field, Fox- worth is one of the bright lights on a Terps team that hopes to repeat as champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference and begins its season Saturday against Notre Dame at the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.

When she asked her son's roommate from last year, senior safety Tyrone Stewart, if he was taking care of him, Stewart replied, "He's taking care of me."

It's tough to be too worried about Foxworth, who considers himself an older player, having lived with two seniors from last year - Charles Hill and Randall Jones - as well as Stewart.

"I feel like I'm a more experienced sophomore," said Foxworth, who played the last three games of last season and will start this year. "Just being around so many veterans, I feel like I've been around more football."

Self-sufficiency is nothing new for Foxworth, who took it upon himself to draft a brochure to send to colleges he was interested in, though he did let his father put together the game tapes.

He left Western Tech halfway through his senior year, so that he could move to College Park early and get acclimated to college, as well as the football team.

"I have nothing to do with it," said Karin Foxworth, who runs a business from home with her husband. "We sometimes have discussions about nature vs. nurture, but he has been self-driven since he was 2 or 3, it seems. He was pretty organized and clear about his intentions."

Instead of choosing a football power in the Baltimore area, Foxworth decided to go to Western Tech, a school that didn't have a field but did have his area of academic interest - computer graphics.

Recruiters found the 5-foot-11, 170-pound player anyway, attracted by his 4.35-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Playing at Western Tech, he intercepted 14 career passes before choosing Maryland, where he initially didn't expect to play in his first season.

He even requested that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen sit him for his first year, making him a redshirt, with the hope of beginning his eligibility this season.

But with Tony Okanlawon down with an undisclosed medical illness and Dennard Wilson out with a hamstring injury, Foxworth was thrown into action for the final three games of last season.

"I don't think Domonique minded trading a year for an ACC championship," Friedgen said last year, referring to Foxworth's performances in the last two regular-season games, which clinched the Terps' league title.

"For a youngster to give up his redshirt year so we could win a championship," Maryland defensive secondary coach Gary Blackney said, "that shows his unselfishness and his commitment to the team."

Once his career began, Foxworth saw both the good and the bad, breaking up a pass early as Clemson tried throwing at him in his debut game. Later, he was part of a secondary that seemed overwhelmed by Florida in the Orange Bowl.

This season, he seems poised to take advantage of those lessons, combined with what coaches identify as his loping strides, quickness and football knowledge.

"I've always been confident, but the confidence is a lot higher now," Foxworth said. "Things aren't always going to go the way you want, but it's always good to be prepared and have faith in yourself."

Next for Terps

Opponent:Notre Dame in Kickoff Classic

Site:Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When:Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 2/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line:Notre Dame by 2 1/2

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