Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen has named fifth-year senior Jordan Steffy this season’s starting quarterback, according to Washington Times reporter Patrick Stevens.
Steffy started the first five games last season until he was injured against Rutgers after receiving a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Second-string sophomore Chris Turner took over the role and excelled at the position, leading the Terps to wins over the No. 10 Scarlet Knights, as well as No. 8 Boston College.
Turner’s finest moment was a bowl-clinching 37-0 shutout victory at NC State, where the junior completed 19 of his 24 passes and ran a 41-yard option.
Turner was atop the depth chart at the start of fall camp, but the Fridge continuously stressed consistency from his quarterbacks at practice during the QB battle.
Friedgen has stated that he has three quarterbacks he can work with, and that includes Florida transfer Josh Portis, who is now the team’s third-string QB after sitting out last year due to an academic violation.
Many expected Turner to start this season, with Portis playing in select packages. After today’s news, those plans have obviously changed. Regardless of who the starter is, expect Portis to see significant playing time.
Fans have already questioned Friedgen’s decision, especially since Turner led the Terrapins to victories over two Top 10 teams, as well as a bowl game berth.
One reason could be that James Franklin, the Terps’ new offensive coordinator, implements a West Coast-style offense that plays to Steffy’s strengths. Franklin is also the quarterbacks coach and recruited Steffy out of high school.
Franklin had this to say about the competition (courtesy of The Washington Times):
"We have the statistics all the time and they're posted downstairs. ... It gets hard if one quarterback all through spring and all through summer camp was statistically better in almost every single category, it's hard to rationalize not making him the starter. Not only documenting that every day after practice, but having all that documentation to make sure because your gut feeling is one thing and the statistics are another. We have to make sure we're being credible with the information."
The Terps kick off their season against Delaware on Saturday, Aug. 30.