Thursday, December 10, 2009

Maryland Football All Decade Team

It has been a mixed decade for Maryland football which has seen historic highs with an ACC championship in 2001 and a school record 31 wins over three years and a historic low with the recently finished 2-10 campaign. Overall I think you have to be pleased with the decade compared to the lowly 1990's when Maryland achieved little worth noting. Let's get onto the players of the decade:

Player of the Decade: Linebacker E.J. Henderson
ACC Player of the Year (2001), two time ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2001-2002), two time 1st Team All American (2001-2002), Bednarik and Butkus Award winner (2002), two time 1st Team All-ACC selection, all time career leader in tackles for loss at Maryland.

By position:

QB: Scott McBrien
Led Maryland to 21-6 record including wins over West Virginia and Tennessee in the Gator and Peach bowls. Fourth all time in passing yardage, third all time in touchdowns and Maryland career leader in passing efficiency rating. Honorable Mention: Shaun Hill

RB: Bruce Perry
Even though it is hard to snub Maryland's all time leading rusher, Lamont Jordan, I have to do it. Jordan only played one season this decade and it was a disappointing(by his 1999 standards) 920 yard, 11 touchdown performance. A number of running backs this decade had better seasons. Perry was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2001) and his 1,242 yards that season are the highest total for any running back of the decade. Perry was never the same after that season and was hampered by nagging injures the rest of his career. Honorable Mention: Chris Downs

FB: Cory Jackson
It is a shame Jackson has played with some less than stellar offensive lines and running backs in his career. His lead blocking is excellent and his pass catching skills are underrated. Honorable Mention: James Lynch

OT: Matt Crawford, Stephon Heyer
Crawford was a two time All-ACC pick(1st team 2002, 2nd team 2001) who helped protect Hill and McBrien. Heyer was an honorable mention pick in 2006 and but for a knee injury that knocked him out a whole season could have had a similar career to Crawford. Honorable Mention: Eric Dumas

OG: C.J. Brooks, Andrew Crummey
Brooks was a two time 1st team All-ACC selection (2003-4) and was a dominating blocker when he was motivated. He had a disappointing senior season even though the voters still gave him the All-ACC nod. Crummey, a two time 2nd team All-ACC pick, was a very solid work horse who was probably slightly overrated but is still one of the better guards of the decade. Honorable Mention: Lamar Bryant

C: Todd Wike
Probably the most difficult position to pick from with Melvin Fowler, Edwin Williams and Wike all making 1st team All-ACC at center this decade. I gave the position to Wike because he was the only lineman to be awarded 1st team status at both guard and center. I could have moved Wike to guard and put Fowler in here as well. Honorable Mention: Melvin Fowler

WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Guilian Gary
Heyward-Bey finished 2nd all time in receiving yards and 3rd all time in receptions at Maryland. He only received one 2nd team All-ACC selection (2006) and was never the scoring threat that many felt he should be but he was a big play threat unlike any other wideout during his time at Maryland. Gary was the only other Maryland receiver of the decade to earn an All-ACC selection (2nd team, 2001) and finished 6th all time in receptions and 9th all time in yards in Maryland history. His game winning touchdown catch against N.C. State propelled Maryland to an ACC title and the Orange Bowl. Honorable Mention: Torrey Smith

TE: Vernon Davis
Associated Press 1st team All America(2005) and 1st team All-ACC (2005). His 871 yards in that season were fifth all time in Maryland history and his four 100 yard receiving games are only behind Marcus Badgett of the Mark Duffner run-and-shoot seasons. Though he left Maryland after his junior season and barely played as a freshman only three players have more career 100 yard receiving games than Davis. Honorable Mention: Joey Haynos

DE: Shawne Merriman, Jeremy Navarre
There probably couldn't be two different players at the same position. Merriman was a physical specimen who excelled at making the big play and "lights out" hit while Navarre was a grinder who got the absolute most out of his modest talent. Merriman finished 2nd all time in sacks at Maryland with 22 and seventh all time in tackles for loss with 32.5 even though he only started 17 games in his career. His 2004 1st team All-ACC season was one for the ages with 85 tackles, 17 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 10 QB hurries and 3 forced fumbles. Navarre started 48 games over four seasons and recorded 25.5 TFL and 11.5 sacks. Honorable Mention: Kevin Eli

DT: Kris Jenkins, Randy Starks
Jenkins only played one season in the decade but it was good enough to get him on my list and earn him 2nd team All-ACC honors(2000). He recorded 62 tackles, 17 TFL, 8.0 sacks and an incredible 18 QB hurries in 2000. Starks was a two time All-ACC selection (1st team 2003, 2nd team 2002) who finished 6th all time in TFL (32.5) and 10th all time in sacks (17.5) before departing for the NFL after his junior season. When motivated Starks was a wrecking crew who could stop the run and rush the passer from the DT position. Honorable Mention: Conrad Bolston

LB: E.J. Henderson, D'Qwell Jackson, Erin Henderson
They may have all played the Mike position but there isn't any point in considering any other linebackers during this period. I included many of E.J. Henderson's awards above but he also is the all time leader in TFL at Maryland with 62.5 and is 2nd all time in tackles with 473 behind only Eric Wilson. Henderson's 2001 season was one of the greatest defensive seasons for any player in Maryland history as he recorded 150 tackles, 28 TFL, 6 sacks, 7 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles and even blocked two kicks. After deciding to stay at Maryland instead of depart for the NFL due to concerns over his injury status he added 175 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 8 QB hurries, 3 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions to his totals. Henderson wasn't a workout warrior but he made up for it with the best instincts of any Maryland linebacker in recent memory. Henderson had an uncanny knack for making big plays at critical times in the game. Jackson followed in Henderson's footsteps and had an excellent career of his own. Jackson finished 4th all time in tackles and 14th in TFL. While Jackson didn't have the big play flair of Henderson he was a steady tackling machine resulting in three All-ACC selections (two 1st team and one 2nd team) and a 2005 Defensive Player of the Year award. Erin Henderson came to Maryland and made a name for himself with two All-ACC selections (1st team, 2007 and 2nd team 2006) and overcoming an early knee injury as a redshirt freshman to lead the team in tackles for two seasons. Henderson chaffed under the schemes of Chris Cosh (causing him to depart early to the NFL) and probably could have been a better player under a more aggressive approach. Honorable Mention: Moise Fokou, Alex Wujciak

CB: Domonique Foxworth, Curome Cox
Foxworth was a two time 2nd team All-ACC performer(2003-4) who picked off 8 passes in his career. Not as physical a corner as some others but very good in coverage. Had his best season in 2003 when he recorded 54 tackles, 5 interceptions and 17 pass breakups. Got to start as a true freshman after Tony Okanlowan went out with with an undisclosed illness. Cox was an underrated corner who lacked burner speed but was physical and a ball hawk. Cox was honorable mention All-ACC in 2003 when he had his best season at Maryland with 58 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks and 11 pass breakups. He returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns including one in the Peach Bowl against Tennessee. Cox finished his career with 10 interceptions a mark that is 7th all time in Maryland history and the highest number of the decade. Honorable Mention: Josh Wilson, Tony Okanlowan

SS: Dennard Wilson
An honorable mention All-ACC pick as a senior Wilson started 30 games for Maryland including 26 games as a junior and senior. Wilson wasn't flashy but his consistency and staying power give him the nod at the position. Honorable Mention: Chris Kelley, Milton Harris

FS: Madieu Williams
Williams was a two time 2nd team All-ACC pick in 2002-2003 and in only two seasons when he accumulated 166 tackles, 7 interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 4 forced fumbles in 26 starts. Williams was a big hitter with great range. Honorable Mention: Tony Jackson

Kicker: Nick Novak
Maryland's and the ACC's all time leading scorer.

Punter: Brooks Barnard
Two time 1st team All-ACC selection who had better averages than Adam Podlesh.

PR: Steve Suter
A two time 1st team All-ACC return man who set the career league record for punt return yardage, touchdowns and average. Still holds the mark for most return yards in a season, touchdowns in a season and returns in a season.

KR: Torrey Smith
On his way to rewriting the Maryland record books. He has already broken his own kickoff return yardage mark and set the record for all-purpose yards this past season while leading the team in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns. If not for Clemson's C.J. Spiller Smith would have set the ACC single season record for all-purpose yards as well.


Jeff said...

I thought that Bryant was very effective his senior year except when he was injured. He didn't play vs. NIU and GT, the two real dissapointing games that season.

Anonymous said...

Reading that made me long for the old days. A lot of good memories in there with each of those players. I hope better days are ahead. All in all, the 2000's were good times in CP for football. Let's hope we can get back.