Stockrisers, headlines and notes from Maryland’s spring football game

Photo courtesy of University of Maryland athletics.

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football played its annual Red-White spring game Saturday, providing a sneak-preview for what’s ahead. The Terps’ offense pulled out a 40-35 win over the defense, which collected seven points for its two interceptions and three points for each of its seven forced three-and-outs. 

The score, for the most part, is irrelevant, but the players participating in the final live-game action for the next four months isn’t. It’s OK if you missed it, because we have you covered below.

PAGE 1 — Stockrisers and notable performances

PAGE 2 — Quarterback race remains wide-open

PAGE 3 — Maryland holsters many in-state high school football standouts. Now what kind of roles will they play?

DeMatha football alumni shine in Maryland’s spring game, just like the good ol’ days

PLAY OF THE GAME

Antoine Brooks’ diving interception at the goalline

 

STOCKRISERS

D.J. Turner, So., receiver 

University of Maryland receiver and DeMatha alum, D.J. Turner, hauls in one of his six receptions during Saturday’s spring game. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Despite the pedestrian quarterback play — 14-for-34, 41.1 completion percentage — usually inadequate production for showcasing a receiving corps’ true potential, former 3-star prospect D.J. Turner flipped an uninvolved freshman season into a top-performer of the spring at a position desperately needing competence. Turner hauled in six receptions, going for 126 yards (21 yards per catch) and a score, rarely missing a beat. His 53-yard grab down the left sideline was the second longest play of the afternoon, and his 28-yard catch-and-run wheel route and one-handed snag should provide room for optimism in Walt Bell’s up-tempo offense. With the Terps losing 59 percent of its receiving production (115 of 196 receptions), Turner appears to have emerged alongside 2016 leading receiver D.J. Moore as a frontline starter. Now the next step is to clear up the murky quarterback situation.

“I had to come out here and make a statement. Definitely had a chip on my shoulder, not playing as much last year. I had to come out here and make a name for myself.” — D.J. Turner on his Red-White spring game performance

Lorenzo Harrison, So., running back

University of Maryland running back and DeMatha alum, Lorenzo Harrison, carries the ball in Saturday’s Red-White spring game on April 22. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Harrison’s performance on Saturday shouldn’t come as a surprise (79 yards and one touchdown on five carries) because of his breakthrough showing as a frosh (633 yards and five touchdowns on the ground). But his spring game outing is important for a few reasons. The DeMatha alum looked a step quicker, uncorking a 56-yard touchdown run, untouched, and when your coach says ‘I don’t care who you are, Lorenzo is a tough guy to tackle,” then you must be doing something right. After saying all spring he’s matured from a four-game suspension for his role in an alleged airsoft shooting incident on campus in November, he came right out and backed his words, proving the unfortunate event is distant in the rear-view mirror. Harrison reinforces a rushing attack that has the pieces to be one of, if not, the best in the Big Ten.

Fofie Bazzie, Fr., defensive back

Bazzie, an early enrollee from Quince Orchard High School in Montgomery County, took advantage of his opportunity filling in for three injured defensive backs (JC Jackson, RaVon Davis and Alex Woods). Bazzie saw first team reps from the onset, compiling a team-high three solo tackles and finished with 3.5 total tackles, including a crucial wrap-up on Lorenzo Harrison, who had daylight if no play was made. Bazzie is a projected third-teamer and possible redshirt, but after Saturday, he’s made a strong case that he can make an impact instantly. And for those who don’t know, Bazzie spearheaded a state title run at Quince Orchard, which ultimately fell short to nationally ranked Wise.

Isaiah Davis, So., linebacker

Davis was expected to presume a larger role after a one-start, 17-tackle season last year as a redshirt freshman, and he certainly took an important step forward in fulfilling the void alongside returning tackle-leader, Jermaine Carter. Davis plugged the gaps when needed Saturday, getting his hand on a bevy of plays. He finished the day with a team-high 3.5 tackles. 

Cavon Walker, Sr., defensive lineman

Walker, a former 3-star recruit, moves over from end to tackle to add seasoning and explosiveness up the gap. Despite virtually no blitz packages on Saturday, he finished with two sacks and three tackles, with two and a half coming in the backfield. Walker has also embraced his new leadership role, repeatedly stressing the importance of accountability and maintaining professionalism on and off the field.

“Coach [Durkin] always talks about being a pro. So I need to be a pro. It’s my last year, senior season. And no better way to go out with a bang, ya know? I want to have good numbers, I want my team to have good numbers. If you play well, your team feeds off that.” — Cavon Walker

Taivon Jacobs, Sr., receiver

Maryland receiver Taivon Jacobs cuts up field during Saturday’s Red-White spring game. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

After missing the entire 2016 season because of a torn ACL, Jacobs came out Saturday and offered a gentle reminder why he was a 4-star prospect out of high school. He finished the day with 68 receiving yards and a touchdown on five receptions, showing the ability to contort his body and haul in difficult catches, like his 29-yard tightrope catch-and-score in the back of the end zone (video below). With 59 percent of the receiving production no longer in College Park, Jacobs, like D.J. Turner, is primed to fill the void. 

LaDerrien Wilson, RFr., running back

LaDerrien Wilson cradles a handoff from quarterback Max Bortenschlager. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Wilson, regarded as one of the top players to come out of Florida in the Class of 2015 and coming off a redshirt season, rumbled for 56 yards on eight carries Saturday. His highlights were a 38-yard gauntlet and punctuating 4-yard score in which he steamrolled three defenders to get across the pylon. Even though he averaged 2.3 yards per carry outside of those plays, Wilson showcased his ability to run downhill and in between the tackles, a bruising style that compliments speedsters Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison.

Nick Underwood, RSo., linebacker

Underwood, a JUCO product and 3-star recruit out of high school, collected a team-high 3.5 tackles on Saturday. With a wide-open race at the linebacker position, Underwood only strengthened his case for a starting role. If not, he’ll serve just fine as a platoon/special teams guy.

 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES FROM HOUSEHOLD NAMES

Ty Johnson, Jr., running back

Maryland running back Ty Johnson sweeps to the outside during Saturday’s Red-White spring game. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

Johnson, the team-leader in just about every rushing category last year and posted an absurd 9.1 yards per carry clip as a sophomore, totaled 57 yards on eight carries (7.1 yards per rush) Saturday. Johnson doesn’t need to prove a whole lot at this point in the year (his workload came in the first 14 minutes), but once summer subsides and mini-camo breaks ground, then it’ll be time to monitor his daily doings. Johnson will once again spearhead a dynamic rushing attack heading into the 2017 season.

Jessie Aniebonam, Sr., defensive lineman

Aniebonam, who played in all 13 games last year, and led the Terps in tackles for loss (14.0) and sacks (9.0), asserted himself all over the field on Saturday, tallying three tackles, a sack, and an eye-opening interception that he returned 41 yards. Aniebonam will once again be a fixture on the defensive forefront in 2017.

D.J. Moore, Sr., receiver

Moore, the team-leader in receiving a year ago, didn’t see many snaps and only corralled one reception. But his lone play was a dandy — a one-handed scoring snag on a fade route, which can be seen below. 

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About Kyle McFadden 307 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
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