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In Their Own Words: Maryland Terrapins

A look back at 2021 season expectations for the Terrapins as they prepare to face off with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Maryland
Update: another Tagovailoa appears to be good at football.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten season is finally here in earnest as the Iowa Hawkeyes are set to travel to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins in week five. With the return of the Big Ten schedule comes the return of our weekly series, “In Their Own Words.”

Ahead of the 2021 season, SB Nation’s Big Ten sites submitted some details on their respective teams. As we continue through the teeth of the Big Ten slate, we’ll take a look back each week at what the fanbase was expecting out of the team entering the season.

Key Departures

Jake Funk

Running back, was the clear-cut starter - drafted in 2021 NFL draft by LA Rams

Shaq Smith

Linebacker, only played one game but was solid depth player

Antwaine Richardson

Defensive back, appeared in all five games last season and started two at safety

Chance Campbell

Linebacker - Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, 12th in FBS and 2nd in Big Ten with 11.0 tackles per game

Johnny Jordan

O-line, transferred out of the program, was a good starter

Key Returnees

Nick Cross

DB, 2021 Pro Football Focus Preseason Second Team All-Big Ten, 2020 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten

Taulia Tagovailoa

QB, was slightly inconsistent last year but has the tools t break out in a huge way this season

Rakim Jarrett

WR, former five-star, has a shot to be All-Big Ten this season if he hits his peak)

Dontay Demus Jr.

WR, top receiver on the team

Mosiah Nasili-Kite

D-line, our top guy on the defensive line

Impact Newcomers

Terrence Lewis

Linebacker, five-star recruit

Demeioun Robinson

Edge rusher, four-star recruit, top-ranked player in Maryland

Colby McDonald/Roman Hemby

Both running backs, have impressed in preseason and could see time on the field

Taizse Johnson

Defensive lineman, one of our top recruits

Branden Jennings

Linebacker, one of our top recruits as well

2021 Season Outlook

It should be a very interesting year for Maryland football. The program played just five total games last year which was the least in the Big Ten. This year the team is bringing in one of the top recruiting classes in the conference and in the nation - so it is looking like a year of promise. The offense has a ton of returning pieces at WR and QB and should have plenty of chemistry from last season. The defense is also looking much better this year, there’s lots of depth. With 12 games on the schedule, I would say the team should hover around or even above the .500 mark.

Biggest Strength

Either the team’s WR/QB combination or the linebackers. I would say it is arguably the linebackers because of the immense amount of talent the team is bringing in.

Biggest Weakness

Discipline. Maryland was one of the most heavily penalized teams in the Big Ten last season (8.8 penalties a game in 2020)

Views on Coaching Staff

Head coach Mike Locksley is a highly-regarded coach. The players seem to love him and his positive attitude ripples through the fan base.

Season MVP

Taulia Tagovailoa. If he breaks out this year and shows consistency, Maryland’s offense will breakout with him.

Season Prediction

6-6. Best win against Penn State on November 6. Potential surprise loss against Michigan State on November 13.

It might be another year of growing pains for Maryland football. The potential is there, but it is yet to be seen if this roster can get it done.

Obviously things change the further into the season we get, but interesting to note the season expectations for the Terps were not terribly high despite some quality recruiting by head coach Mike Locksley. Maryland has started the season hot, going 4-0 with wins over West Virginia, Howard, Illinois and Kent State.

We’ll circle back with updated thoughts on the 2021 season and what to expect Friday night as the week progresses.