Davis feels out draft

Tight end files with NFLPA

Statham considers transfer

Maryland notebook

College Football

November 29, 2005|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

It's hardly a mass exodus, but Maryland's defensive coordinator might not be the only one leaving the football program. Two days after defensive coordinator Gary Blackney quietly retired, coach Ralph Friedgen met with three players who are thinking about leaving the program, including his top receiver and backup quarterback.

Junior tight end Vernon Davis filed paperwork yesterday with the NFL Players Association to get a better idea of where he would be selected in the NFL draft.

Davis led the Terps with 871 yards and six touchdowns on 51 catches. He also led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 79.2 receiving yards a game.

One NFL scout, who wished to remain anonymous, said Davis wouldn't improve his status - or his game - by returning for his senior year, and that the only thing that would hinder his draft status would be his height of 6 feet 3. Most tight ends at the next level have at least 2 more inches, such as the New York Giants' Jeremy Shockey and the Ravens' Todd Heap, who are both listed at 6-5.

The scout said he expected Davis to be drafted the first day, but not necessarily in the first round.

"When you put together a year like he had, you can't get any better," he said. "You can only go down."

Should Davis declare himself eligible, he would have 48 hours to change his mind.

"I'm in the process of calling some general managers and trying to get him as much information as possible," Friedgen said. "My advice to him was to take as much time as he needs to see who else comes out, and if they could impact him, too."

UCLA senior Marcedes Lewis set school records this year for tight ends with 711 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, and experts predict him to be a top pick, at 6-6. Both he and Davis were named finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation's top tight end.

Friedgen said he also met with backup quarterback Joel Statham and junior tailback J.P. Humber, both of whom talked about transferring. Statham, who threw 15 interceptions and eight touchdowns in his one season as a starter and has one year of eligibility remaining, is likely to transfer to a Division I-AA school closer to his home in Georgia.

"I told him if that's something he wanted to do, I would help him," Friedgen said. "If that's what Joel wants to do, I understand. I'll make some calls for him."

Friedgen reopened the competition at quarterback after the loss at North Carolina State. If Statham should leave, Jordan Steffy would be next in line.

"I'm going to play the guy who does the best," Friedgen said. "Chris Turner, all those guys will compete. That's the way we'll go. I think Sam would want it that way."

Friedgen said that when Humber left his office yesterday, "he was planning on staying."

Blackney, on the other hand, made the decision to leave long ago. Friedgen has not yet interviewed anyone to replace Blackney, who was one of the first assistants Friedgen hired when he took over the program five seasons ago. Friedgen said he has candidates in mind, but a lot of them are involved in bowl games right now.

"I'm looking to get the best fit," he said. "I'd like to do it as soon as possible, but it's more important to get the right person."

Injury update

Quarterback Sam Hollenbach, who tore ligaments in his left shoulder against Virginia Tech, will have a magnetic resonance imaging exam every two weeks, and at the end of six weeks, will make a decision whether to operate. ... Four players will miss spring practice because of injuries, including left tackle Stephon Heyer, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee before this season. Sophomore guard Donnie Woods, who injured his shoulder last year against Virginia Tech and has been dealing with it all season, will have an operation, as will running back Keon Lattimore, who dislocated his shoulder earlier this season.

Linebacker Rick Costa had his shoulder operated on, and also will miss the spring. Nose tackle Rob Armstrong will have back surgery next month.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.