Safety Denzel Conyers ineligible and other Maryland football notes

September 26, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland safety Denzel Conyers is ineligible to play this year.

Conyers signed with the Terps after attending Butte College, a junior college in California. But the junior apparently did not have a 2.5 GPA at Butte, which is why he is ineligible.

Maryland appealed the ruling on the basis that Conyers was a full qualifier when he signed with Florida International in 2012 and took classes this summer at Maryland to get the credits he needed. However, the Terps’ appeal was denied.

Maryland was also unsuccessful trying to get a waiver that would have made Conyers eligible.

If eligible, Conyers would be on Maryland’s two-deep at safety and would likely be seeing playing time behind starting free safety Anthony Nixon.

Instead, redshirt freshman Elvis Dennah is the top backup to Nixon.

Gallo, Hayward will both have roles

Sophomore P.J. Gallo is the better blocker and a smart and conscientious player who, according to teammates, does not make many mental mistakes.

But redshirt freshman Derrick Hayward is 6-foot-5 and has some skills as a pass-catcher that Terps offensive coordinator Mike Locksley feels like can help Maryland as well.

So, according to Locksley, Gallo and Hayward will both see time at tight end as Maryland looks to replace starter Andrew Isaacs, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Syracuse last week.

Gallo will likely start and see the majority of the workload, but Locksley said Hayward will have a role as well.

“It’s like any other injury that we have,” Locksley said. “The next guys have to step up. Obviously I think P.J. has a certain skill set, and we’ll do the things we feel that he’s capable of getting done within our game plan, and then Derrick has a certain skill set.”

Gallo had an 11-yard catch after stepping in for Isaacs against Syracuse.

“Obviously P.J. came in and had a big catch there on the naked [bootleg] and got us a first down,” Locksley said, “and he did some nice things to close the game out once we lost Andrew.”

Terps will continue to utilize rotation along defensive line

After losing starting defensive end Quinton Jefferson to a season-ending knee injury, the Terps have moved senior Keith Bowers from nose tackle to defensive end to replace Jefferson, and Edsall said Maryland will continue to utilize a six-man rotation along the defensive line.

Redshirt sophomore Roman Braglio (McDonogh) remains the top backup to Andre Monroe at one of the Terps’ two defensive end spots. Spencer Myers will see time behind Bowers at the other, and freshman David Shaw will now back up Darius Kilgo at nose tackle.

Myers has 13 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss and a half-sack this season. Braglio has five tackles, a half-sack and a fumble recovery, and Shaw was on the field for around 10 snaps against Syracuse last week.

Edsall 'really proud' of backup linebacker Thompson

Junior outside linebacker Avery Thompson has never been a starter at Maryland. He has been primarily a scout team player whose primary game day contributions have come on special teams. But Edsall said Thompson has never been an “energy vampire.”

According to Edsall, Thompson has maintained a positive attitude even while not seeing much action on game days, and Thompson is now being relied on to help as a reserve outside linebacker with starting outside linebacker Matt Robinson banged-up and backup Cavon Walker out for the year due to a foot injury.

Thompson will be the top backup to Jalen Brooks at Robinson’s outside linebacker spot if Robinson is unable to play against Indiana on Saturday.

Thompson will also continue to play on special teams. He recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown on special teams against South Florida on Sept. 6.

“Not everyone is going to be a starter,” Edsall said. “There’s different levels of ability that people have, and you can still be a great teammate and a great contributor to the team in other ways, and I think that’s the thing that has impressed me the most about Avery.

“Avery has never moped around or sulked. All he’s done is work to improve and get better. … That’s why I’m really proud of him. He’s always been a team player. He’s always given his best effort, [and] he’s prepared and done the things you’ve asked him to do.”

Former Dunbar standout Jones earns weekly honor

Redshirt freshman defensive end Malik Jones (Dunbar) is one injury away from being in Maryland’s two-deep at defensive end, and Edsall said he is encouraged about Jones’ readiness after Jones was named the Terps’ defensive scout team player of the week this week.

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