Terps Trio: QB in 2013, Dez Wells' impact and national media's hoops predictions

November 09, 2012

Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland  sports.

Who will be Maryland’s quarterback next season -- or at least who will be in the mix?

Jeff Barker: Coaches won’t discuss this yet -- they’ve been asked. They typically don’t like looking that far ahead. They’ve got their hands full finding enough healthy bodies at the position to make it through the rest of this season.

But reporters have no such limitations. We’ll talk about pretty much anything.

So here are my early rankings. The quarterback competition will be affected by how quickly -- and how well -- some of these guys can come back from injuries. That’s something you can’t always predict.

C.J. Brown. Since he was the presumptive starter in training camp before tearing an ACL, the assumption here is that he would be again. He’s experienced and mobile, and he would like to end his Maryland career on a positive note -- by proving he can be an accurate passer, not just a running threat. He is scheduled to graduate this year but has indicated he would like to return.

Ricardo Young. Most Maryland fans haven’t seen him, but I wouldn’t underestimate his chances of becoming a significant player. Young originally committed to Virginia Tech in 2010, where he redshirted as a freshman before transferring to New Mexico the following year. His coach there was current Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. He practiced this season but was not eligible to play under transfer rules.

Caleb Rowe. The freshman only played one complete game before tearing his ACL, but his potential is obvious if you watch him throw. Teammates call him a “gunslinger.”

Perry Hills. He’s tough and tested -- at least relative to most of his quarterback competition -- and the freshman undoubtedly wants the chance to return from his own ACL tear.

Shane Cockerille. Is the current Gilman player Maryland’s quarterback of the future? Like many schools, Maryland likes to redshirt its first-year quarterbacks. The team didn’t have that luxury this season with all the injuries. "[The Maryland coaches] just like me as a tough kid that’s mobile, can run the ball and throw,” Cockerille said.

Devin Burns: The former receiver volunteered to play quarterback after Brown was injured in training camp. Does he remain at the position? We will see.

What impact should Dez Wells regaining his eligibility have on the rest of Maryland's starting lineup and rotation?

Don Markus: I expect Wells to be in the starting lineup Friday night against Kentucky at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. If the game is close -- which seems now like more of a possibility if Wells can stay out of foul trouble -- I also expect him with the ball in his hands down the stretch. From what I have seen, read and heard about the 6-5 guard from Raleigh, N.C., he has the potential to be a first-team All-ACC player this season after being one of the top freshmen in the Atlantic 10 a year ago at Xavier.

With Wells in the lineup, presumably at shooting guard but also at small forward, that might give Mark Turgeon a little more confidence to play freshman Seth Allen at the point. I know that Turgeon was a little unsettled about the point guard situation because Pe'Shon Howard didn't give him enough offensively, something Allen showed in his 16-point, five-assist, no-turnover debut against Indiana (Pa.), a Division II team, a week ago. I can see him playing Allen and Wells together a lot, with Nick Faust moving up to small forward.

Given the hoopla surrounding the game in Brooklyn -- heck, Turgeon referenced the fact that the Terps might get a little starry-eyed just seeing Dick Vitale sitting courtside -- the second-year Maryland coach might go with his most experienced lineup at least for the start. That means Howard, Wells, Faust on the perimeter, with sophomore Alex Len at center and senior James Padgett, who grew up in Brooklyn, at power forward. But since Turgeon mentioned the fact that Maryland's advantage on Kentucky might be experience and depth, look for the Terps to go at least to nine players, maybe 10.

Figure on Allen getting a pretty good run in the backcourt, with freshman Charles Mitchell  (15 rebounds in the exhibition game) probably getting the first call off the bench up front. I know that fellow freshmen Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman played a little nervously in the exhibition game, but Turgeon said at the news conference to announce Wells regained his eligibility that he expected both of the two top recruits to show better in Brooklyn than they did in College Park. I also think transfer Logan Aronhalt, a fifth-year grad student who played at Albany, will get some minutes, especially if he comes out and hits a couple of 3s.

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