A popular question as Maryland's season opener lurches to just 10 days away: Which true freshmen will play?
The answers seem a little bit clearer to coach Ralph Friedgen these days.
Offered the chance to rattle off some names, he mentioned safeties Matt Robinson and Titus Till, defensive end Ian Evans and left tackle Max Garcia. Left off, but almost certain to play, is linebacker David Mackall.
But a couple defensive backs made the list that were a little eye-opening: Jeremiah Johnson and Desmond Kearse.
Johnson is a cornerback who at least is in the discussion unless the unit stays completely healthy.
"He's a young kid, I think he just turned 17, and even though he’s a very light kid, he’s a pretty aggressive guy," Friedgen said. "He'll hit you. He has very good coverage skills. It's one of those things where if we got a couple more guys hurt, he’d play."
Translation: Seems like the sort of guy Maryland will make an effort to redshirt, even if coaches like what they see so far.
The optimal scenario with Kearse would also be a redshirt. But with Maryland lusting for speedy players who can effectively rush the passer, Kearse provides an interesting element for defensive coordinator Don Brown to work with. For now, Kearse is among the reserves in the Terps' nickel package.
"He’s not very big, but he’s very quick, and he is relentless," Friedgen said. "He's got him all over the place --- in the secondary, at linebacker. He’s all over the place. Doesn’t need much to get by you, too. He’s like a contortionist. He’s another guy you’d like to redshirt. He was probably 169 pounds when he came here. After two-a-days, he’s probably about 150. But he can rush the passer. He can do that."