COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – In his weekly presser coming off the bye week, Head Coach Mike Locksley emphasized his team’s goal was to recover mentally, and physically before the second half of the season, admitting the Terps “limped” into the bye week after back-to-back losses against Iowa, and Ohio State.
Coach Locksley would go on to announce the team would lose both wide receiver Jeshaun Jones, and linebacker Durell Nchami for the season. Jeshaun had a season-ending lower body surgery, according to Coach Locksley.
“We lost to two of the top teams in our league, again not being with all of our players,” Locksley said. “It shows us we still have a ways to go against the elite programs, but I feel very confident that we’ll get there because of the type of kids we have in our program.”
The Terps lost senior wideout Dontay Demus Jr. to an injury for the season, in their game against Iowa, and the week after, they lost Jones to an injury during their game against Ohio State. Both Demus and Jones combined for 46 receptions, and over 700 yards.
Jones also missed all of the 2019 season, because of an ACL tear.
Without their top two receiving options, all eyes point to sophomore Rakim Jarrett, who has 319 receiving yards this season, and a team-high five touchdowns.
“He’s no longer the little brother in the room,” Locksley said. “He now has to become kind of the big brother. I’ve always said leadership is having a positive impact on others. We’re going to have to get a little bit more out of him.”
Senior wide receivers, Brian Cobbs, Darryl Jones, and Carlos Carriere, along with sophomore DeaJaun McDougle and freshman Marcus Fleming, were also named by Coach Locksley as players who he is excited to see step up, and fill that production.
“The wide receiver group is the best group in our team, so there is a ton of guys in there that can come and play at a high level. There is no – no one is nervous, no one is worried. They’re all ready to go.” said tight-end Chigoziem Okonkwo.
Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is averaging 314 yards passing per game, the Big Ten’s second-best mark. And without his top two targets, he’s expressed confidence in the younger core that fill out that wide receiver room.
“You got your younger brothers who you know, ‘Dang he could be good one day’.” said quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, “And the older brothers leave, and then its like ‘yeah it’s my little brother’s turn’. But nobody knows about them. But only you know about them, so its like, a lot of people ask ‘is he really good? Is he really that?’, and you just gotta see.”