CB Domonique Foxworth (PHOTO CREDIT - Maryland Athletics/Media Relations)

2003 Statistics

Coach: Ralph Friedgen
31-8, 3 years
2003 Record: 10-3
at Northern Illinois LOST 13-20
at Florida State LOST 10-35
at Eastern Michigan WON 37-13


WON 21-7
DUKE WON 33-20
at Georgia Tech LOST 3-7
at North Carolina State WON 26-24
at Wake Forest WON 41-28
West Virginia WON 41-7

2003 Final Rankings
AP-17, Coaches-20, BCS-23

2004 Outlook

The Terps are likely to open up somewhere from #9 to unranked. On one hand, you have Ralph Friedgen and his three-straight 10-win seasons dating back to an ACC title (the only team to win an ACC Championship outright since FSU joined the league) and a BCS bid in 2001. Fans will be hard pressed to find another coach more respected on a national scale. On the other hand, the Maryland depth chart has been gutted. Filling in the vast open holes at this juncture is based purely on speculation. With only five starters back on offense, a starting-QB situation that likely won't be decided until Labor Day weekend, combined with only three key starters back on defense, Friedgen's agenda will be his most arduous since accepting the job.

Terrapin schedules of the past have included some lightweight non-conference opponents. In 2004, though only a slight SOS improvement, Maryland has with a legitimate shot at going 3-0 outside league competition (Northern Illinois, Temple, West Virginia). At least there is time for the team to get their feet under them before heading into a home game with FSU on Halloween weekend. But this assumes the inexperienced talent can grasp the Friedgen system early, as opposed to recent seasons, where Maryland struggled horribly out of the gates only to wind up finishing as a team no one wishes to play.

Put under the microscope, we conclude Maryland isn't going to earn another 10-win season. Next autumn recedes back to an 11-game regular season schedule, which is a larger hurdle in terms of getting to 10 wins, compared to the 12 and 13-game slate that existed the previous two seasons. If the Terps go 10-2, given their heavy personnel losses, Maryland will have to be considered a serious contender for years to come in the newly formed ACC, and Ralph Friedgen gets our conference "Coach of The Year" award. Common sense and logic dictate a slight drop-off in terms of Maryland's bottom-line achievements - 2004 appears to be a foundation-building process for the future. Friedgen, Friedgen…he's our man, if he can't do it, no one can. Thus, a Top 20 preseason ranking at NationalChamps.net is par for the course, despite the obstacles of inexperience.

Projected 2004 record: 8-3
QB - 2 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Joel Statham, 25-12-1, 156 yds., 0 TD

Rushing: Josh Allen, 186 att., 922 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Steve Suter, 29 rec., 471 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Nick Novak, 24-32 FG, 38-42 PAT, 110 pts.

Punting: Adam Podlesh, 53 punts, 42.3 avg.

Kicking: Nick Novak, 24-32 FG, 38-42 PAT, 54 long

Tackles: D’Qwell Jackson, 132 tot., 87 solo, 7.5 TFL

Sacks: Shawne Merriman, 8.5 sacks

Domonique Foxworth, 3 for 64 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Steve Suter, 15 ret., 23.4 avg.

Punt Returns: Steve Suter, 37 ret., 9.0 avg., 2 TD


KR/PR/WR Steve Suter (PHOTO CREDIT - Maryland Athletics/Media Relations)
OFFENSE: Lamar Bryant-OG, Eric Dumas-OT, Jeff Dugan-TE, Scott McBrien-QB, Bruce Perry-TB, Bernie Fiddler-FB, Latrez Harrison-WR
DEFENSE: C.J. Feldheim-NT, Leon Joe-WLB, Leroy Ambush-SLB, Dennard Wilson-SS, Madieu Williams-FS, Curome Cox-CB, Jamahl Cochran-LEO, Randy Starks-DT (NFL)

Ask the Baltimore/Washington locals who the starting QB will be, and you are likely to hear silence. Not even the coaches know yet. The probable candidate is the only one with game experience, Georgia native Joel Statham. His only spotlight came against Georgia Tech after starter Scott McBrien left early with a head injury. In the 7-3 defeat, Statham didn't do much to enlighten an offensive snoozer. Look for local DeMatha H.S. standout Ryan Mitch to make a case for the job. If this redshirt freshman doesn't take the reigns, big Pennsylvania recruit Jordan Steffy will stride into August camp with a rare shot as a true freshman. The QB position is Maryland's biggest question mark and weakness until developed.

Running Back
The tailback job belongs to Josh Allen, the premier back from '03. Bruce Perry has finally moved on, but a rotation of sorts still remains likely, as powerful Sam Maldonado would then get a good many reps. Sam and Josh would form a great combo, with speed to go the distance and short yardage grinding when needed, too. As well, highly regarded recruit Keon Lattimore will finally get a shot at TB. His explosiveness gives the Terps yet another option and fresh legs for fourth quarter rejuvenation for worn-out DLs. At FB, only two players are vying for playing time (Ricardo Dickerson, who also plays rush end on defense, and Maurice Smith). Both are blockers; so don't look for many carries or catches out of the FB.

Wide Receiver
At least the new QB will have a stable of experienced receivers from which to choose. This is Maryland's deepest unit on both sides of the ball. However, the lack of an all-star caliber standout makes this group more of a positive by committee. A big key will be the probable elevation of All-American special teams player Steve Suter. Now a senior, he needs to become more of a threat than just a 20-30 receptions prototype. The Terps are blessed with some speed in Jo Jo Walker, an athlete with the versatility to play the slot or the outside, and Derrick Fenner, the team's fastest receiver. Although undersized, the most gifted of the group is Dan Melendez (175 pounds). Don't forget about senior Rich Parson, who was described by Friedgen on numerous occasions last year as the team's most consistent receiver. All will be key in helping to develop the new QB, whoever is tapped.

Tight End
The Terrapins will suffer another significant loss here, but a handful of qualified candidates are in the fold. At 6'8, Derek Miller becomes their biggest target and likely the starter to begin the fall. Watch out for Vernon Davis from nearby Dunbar High School (Washington, DC), rated the third-best tight end in the nation by ESPN.com in 2002. His 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and outstanding athleticism allows him to play a number of multiple positions. Davis is a star ready to be born.

Offensive Line
Issues existed last fall on the OL, a plight that doomed early expectations after a few key injuries. The return of NationalChamps.net All-American C.J. Brooks at OG will be the basis of the line's foundation. Kyle Schmitt provides another experienced option at center, but, once again, the depth up front is young and has yet to show a capacity to dominate. The situation has progressed well past that of 2003. Coach Friedgen managed to land a successful recruiting class just two seasons ago in terms of linemen, so it's time to find out just how much will translate to success(es)/wins.

The skill positions are a mixed bag. The Terrapins will be fine at RB and WR with plenty of depth and options to utilize. The glaring concern is at QB, where none have played any Division I ball - minus a brief appearance by Joel Statham. This system under Friedgen is complex, so again expect this to spell a slow start. How fast the QB matures will determine the team's 2004 fate.

The protection up front, in very simple terms, will be better than good, but not stellar. Look for opposing defenses to load the box in an attempt to take Allen and the other RBs out of any plans. But, alas, the Terps have to run to be successful; so, until the QB shows an ability to beat defenses with his arm, it's fairly obvious early success depends upon the ability to score by handing off the pigskin.


OG C.J. Brooks (PHOTO CREDIT - Maryland Athletics/Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Joel Statham-So (6-1, 207) Sam Hollenbach-So (6-5, 223)
Ryan Mitch-Fr (6-1, 207)
FB Ricardo Dickerson-Jr (6-3, 238) Maurice Smith-Sr (5-11, 229)
TB Josh Allen-Jr (5-11, 207) Sam Maldonado-Sr (6-0, 229)
WR Steve Suter-Sr (5-10, 192) Dan Melendez-Jr (6-2, 176)
Jo Jo Walker-Jr (5-9, 265)
WR Derrick Fenner-Jr (6-0, 185) Rich Parson-Sr (5-10, 187)
Drew Weatherly-So (6-4, 200)
TE Derek Miller-Jr (6-8, 258) Vernon Davis-So (6-3, 231)
Rob Abiamiri-Sr (6-2, 241)
OT Stephon Heyer-Jr (6-6, 295) Ryan Flynn-Sr (6-4, 272)
OG C.J. Brooks-Sr (6-6, 318) Garrick Clig-Fr (6-3, 296)
C Kyle Schmitt-Sr (6-5, 297) Ryan McDonald-Jr (6-2, 282)
OG Andrew Crummey-Fr (6-4, 273) Donnie Woods-Fr (6-3, 286)
OT Lou Lombardo-Sr (6-6, 287) Brock Choate-Fr (6-4, 273)
K Nick Novak-Sr (6-0, 183) ..
Joel Statham....state-um
Steve Suter....(rhymes with scooter)
Sam Hollenbach....HALL-un-bock
Rob Abiamiri....Ah-BE-uh-meery


Defensive Line
When DT Randy Starks announced he was leaving for the NFL, Maryland took a huge blow, probably more so than people realize. Left behind to fill shoes on the inside are two sophomores and a true freshman. Dennis Marsh enrolled early in January to be a part of spring football. The issue, as with many other team positions, is youth. DT Conrad Bolston played in 10 games as a true freshman, while NT Rob Armstrong has displayed some power after getting more reps in 2003 than any other freshman up front. On a positive note, DE Kevin Eli returns for his senior year after earning second team All-ACC status while racking up some decent numbers (11 TFLs and 5.5 sacks).

This mix of youngsters may be the most talented of any unit on the team. Once again however, experience is short. The veteran of the group is Shawne Merriman at LEO (LEO is a hybrid DE and LB), who just posted 8.5 sacks as part of the ACC's #1 ranked defense of 2003. The strongside LB will feature a pair of walk-ons - David Holloway and Jeris Smith. A year ago at this time, the big question was "who replaces 'Butkus Award'-winner E.J. Henderson in the middle?" That answer was found in young D'Qwell Jackson, the teams leading returning tackler. Jackson is another one of those ball hawks that just seems to wind up where needed on every play. Beware of redshirt frosh Wesley Jefferson on the weakside, SuperPrep's #1 rated linebacker nationally in 2002. Wesley should be moving on up; it's just too bad 'Jefferson Cleaners' is patented.

Defensive Back
How do you replace ¾ of this devastating secondary from a season ago? Gone are the long-time names of Wilson, Williams and Cox. The lonely returning man is Domonique Foxworth at CB. A preseason All-American for NationalChamps.net last spring, Foxworth seemed to fade as a standout in that talented 2003 pack. His numbers were still better than descent. His importance, though, cannot be overstated for 2004. On the other side, JUCO-transfer Reuben Haigler starts atop the depth chart after redshirting last season. He offers quality attributes with speed and solid cover skills. Strong safety is anyone's guess. Once the future at QB for Maryland, Chris Kelley now finds himself in the mix at this position after two major knee surgeries forced the move. Hard-hitting Marcus Wimbush, if he can ever get healthy, has a great chance at serious playing time. The most experienced safety is Ray Custis, who topped the team's list of Iron Terps in 2003 (weight room honors).

Whew! Talk about completely renovated. Maryland has one lineman, one linebacker and one defensive back that could be considered returning starters. It's hard to imagine the Terrapins making a run at any type of conference crown in the new ACC with this set-up. Not only are the replacements raw, they have very little to offer in terms of snaps under their belt.


LB D'Qwell Jackson (PHOTO CREDIT - Maryland Athletics/Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Kevin Eli-Sr (6-4, 268) Omarr Savage-Fr 6-5, 260)
Patrick Powell-Fr (6-3, 248)
NT Robert Armstrong-So (6-3, 303) Justin Duffie-Jr (6-1, 287)
DT Conrad Bolston-So (6-4, 267) Henry Scott-Sr (6-3, 279)
LEO Shawne Merriman-Jr (6-4, 253) Jon Condo-Sr (6-3, 241)
Jermaine Lemons-Fr (6-1, 246)
SLB David Holloway-So (6-2, 228) Jeris Smith-So (6-2, 233)
MLB D'Qwell Jackson-Jr (6-1, 224) Tim Cesa-Fr (6-0, 240)
WLB William Kershaw-Jr (6-3, 233) Wesley Jefferson-Fr (6-1, 233)
CB Domonique Foxworth-Sr (5-11, 177) Josh Wilson-So (5-9. 176)
CB Reuben Haigler-Sr (5-10, 186) Gerrick McPhearson-Jr (5-10, 192)
SS Chris Kelly-Jr (6-2, 210) Marcus Wimbush-So (5-11, 205)
FS Raymond Custis-Sr (5-9, 194) Richard Taylor-Fr (5-10, 190)
P Adam Podlesh-So (5-11, 209) ..
D'Qwell Jackson...dee-KWELL
Adam Podlesh....pod-lesh
Gerrick McPhearson....Gare-rick




The kicking game is stocked. Nick Novak returns as one of the ACC's all time leading scorers. His field goals in the clutch have pulled the Terps out of the fire on more than one occasion.

Punter Adam Podlesh had question marks a year ago as a freshman, but his 42.3-yard average and quick release yields yet another special team's weapon.

Return Game
No Maryland special teams report would be complete without mentioning Steve Suter. His consistency of returning kicks for touchdowns has awarded him First Team All-American status at NationalChamps.net. Whether it is punt or kickoffs, Suter is a package of dynamite with enough return yards to circle the entire DC Beltway.


Spring left the Maryland coaches in that same state of indecision as far as the offense goes. Projected starting QB Joel Statham had a descent spring practice, but a terrible spring game while throwing three interceptions in the first half only to be replaced. According to Coach Friedgen, Sam Hollenback closed the gap in terms of naming a starter...WR Drew Weatherly led all receivers in the spring game with four receptions...Powerful TB Sam Maldonado sat out spring due to injury. Solid depth exists at the spot with Mario Merrills, Lance Ball and J.P. Humber competing for the backup role...Backup TE Vernon Davis helped his cause this spring. A former highly coveted recruit, Davis has great hands and athleticism that sets him apart from most TEs. What he lacks is consistency and the proper mental sharpness.

Defense dominated this spring, but that was due in part to the amount of inexperience on offense. MLB D'Qwell Jackson was a man among boys on the field, physically dominating the opposing offensive units. You're looking at an all-American here. Aside from Jackson, LEO Shawne Merriman and DBs Chris Kelly and Dominique Foxworth have been the most impressive players defensively through early drills. Kelly (from the famous nearby Seneca Valley H.S.) was once projected to be the golden boy in College Park as the big time signal caller until multiple knee surgeries forced him to take on the strong safety position. With the lack of depth at SS, his growth has been a huge factor. The other LB spots (Sam and Will) are incredibly short of experience. Wesley Jefferson will eventually win that outside post. LB Tim Cesa has grown (as a football player) since his arrival in College Park and will give Jackson an ample backup at MLB. CB Gerrick McPhearson has shown an impressive break on the ball, picking off passes in scrimmages.

TE Vernon Davis (so)
OLB Wesley Jefferson (rsf)
DE Patrick Powell (rsf)