Maryland Football: Under-the-Radar Terps in 2012
Maryland fans have been anticipating the return of S/LB Kenny Tate and DT Joe Vellano ever since they were lost to injury last season. Quarterback C.J. Brown and Wide Receiver Kevin Dorsey, both team captains in 2012, have also been the recipients of media attention.
Considering that Brown and Dorsey still have much to prove, the Terrapins will need a multitude of players to rise to the occasion in 2012 in order to remain competitive in the ACC.
No one surely knows what to expect from Randy Edsall and company this fall, but we do know that the following players will have an opportunity to make an impact this football season.
Center: Bennett Fulper
Out of the small town of Gretna, Virginia, Fulper has the potential to make a name for himself in a big way. With a towering frame (6’5", 300 lbs), Fulper has proven himself to be incredibly consistent at the center position—starting each of the past two years in front of both Danny O'Brien and C.J. Brown.
Though he was limited both in the final weeks of the fall and over the course of spring practice due to injury, he is expected to be at full-strength for the Terps. With the loss of multiple offensive lineman to graduation and transfer, Fulper will be in a position to anchor the Terps line.
Fullback: Tyler Cierski
Fullbacks rarely get the credit they deserve; however, Scout.com ranked Cierski as the No. 7 fullback in the recruit class of 2011 for a reason. The 6’1" bruiser acquired experience starting for Maryland as a true freshman in 2011.
With a year of college football under his belt, Cierski will lead the way for C.J. Brown and running back Justus Pickett. While Cierski may not get many touches, he will certainly impact the success of the Terps.
Wide Receiver: Nigel King
The 6’3", 200 lbs receiver, a highly-touted recruit out of Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina, originally committed to LSU. Last season, King was red-shirted due to NCAA Clearinghouse issues.
It is hard to say what the Terps offense will look like in 2012, but the ball will certainly remain on the ground frequently. King has potential as both a receiver and a blocker downfield. Although under the radar, King will finally take the field for the Terps this fall.
Safety: Eric Franklin
In 2011, Franklin rose to the occasion following the injury of starting safety Matt Robinson.
If Kenny Tate plays linebacker this season, it is expected that Franklin will continue to see plenty of playing time in the secondary. The senior kinesiology student has proven himself as a reliable player.
Though largely unnoticed, Franklin had a 106 tackles in 2011 and looks to build upon that number in 2012.