In the past 10 years the University of Maryland Terrapins football team has developed one of the deepest linebacking corps in college football.
A lot of the success in the past decade came from the ability of Maryland’s linebackers to run to the ball and make plays.
Maryland might never receive the same accolades as “Linebacker U” Penn State for its ability to produce linebackers, but the Terps have still produced NFL-caliber linebackers.
As a new season and decade emerges for the Maryland Terrapins, the Terps are poised to return to success on the backs of another stellar class of linebackers.
In a dismal 2009 season, the Terrapins finished 2-10 and last in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal division. For the Terps to hopefully right the ship, Maryland will rely on the position that has carried them through the past decade.
The Terrapins are led by senior linebackers Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten, and third-year redshirt sophomore Demetrius Hartsfield could emerge as one of Maryland’s dominant forces from the defensive side of the ball.
Although 2009 was not a positive season for the Terps, Hartsfield provided hope for the Terps for the 2010 season. The 6'2", 225-pound redshirt freshman brought a powerful, yet agile frame to the Terps' linebacking corps. The young linebacker hails from Raleigh, North Carolina, where he played football for Southeast Raleigh High School.
During his redshirt freshman year at the Will linebacker position, Hartsfield played 10 games. Hartsfield put together impressive numbers in 2009, racking up 64 total tackles with 3.5 sacks and 6.5 TFL. His presence was felt for the Terps when Hartsfield led the team with 10 tackles against Clemson and forced and recovered a fumble after sacking Tiger quarterback Kyle Parker in the final minute of play.
The impressive performance by Hartsfield helped Maryland secure a hard-fought 24-21 victory over the Clemson Tigers and earned him ACC Freshman of the Week honors.
The image of the linebacker position is usually of a player of sheer toughness; Demetrius Hartsfield possesses that attribute.
In Maryland’s 42-32 loss to Wake Forest, Hartsfield recorded five tackles and a sack before suffering a broken wrist. The following week Hartsfield recorded seven tackles in a cast against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Hartsfield later went on to miss the next two games due to surgery on his broken wrist. After not suiting up for two weeks in a row, Hartsfield returned to the Terps for the Virginia Tech game. Unfortunately for the Terps, the return of Hartsfield was not enough to overcome a Virginia Tech onslaught, in which the Terps lost 36-9.
The season was not lost for Hartsfield. On November 28, 2009, Hartsfield started at the Will linebacker position for the Terps and put together a career-high 11-tackle performance against Boston College. Although Hartsfield’s play against Boston College did not lead the Terps to a victory, it gave the Terps a lot to build upon entering the 2010 season.
As for the 2010 season, Maryland will look to Demetrius Hartsfield to anchor the weak side linebacker position for the Terps.
Although there was a lot to be happy about for Hartsfield, like any player, there is always room for improvement. For Hartsfield the improvement can come in pass defense; last season he only recorded one pass deflection and did not register an interception. Maryland will need a much better performance out of Hartsfield in the secondary for the Terps to improve upon their 2-10 record in 2009.