Marcus Leak

Maryland wide receiver Juwann Winfree ditches Terps

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Remember a few years ago when jokes were made about how many players were choosing to leave the Maryland football program under head coach Randy Edsall? Those times have passed, but we have a theme running today on College Football Talk about players leaving their respective programs for one reason or another. Now we found a way to get Maryland in the mix.

Wide receiver Juwann Winfree has left the Maryland program, the school announced Wednesday. This news comes less than two weeks after Edsall suspended Winfree for a violation of Maryland’s student-athlete code of conduct.

Winfree caught 11 passes for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Maryland in 2014. His role in the Terps figured to be more significant in 2015 after some roster turnover from last fall. As noted previously, Maryland was already in a position to replace the top four receivers from a year ago. Stefon Diggs left early for the NFL, Jacquille Veii transferred and Marcus Leak withdrew from the university last month. Now Winfree will be looking to take his game elsewhere.

Maryland again suspends WR Juwann Winfree

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Back in November, Maryland’s Juwann Winfree was suspended for a pair of games for violating the university’s student-athlete code of conduct.  Seven months later, it’s lather, rinse and repeat for the wide receiver.

Maryland confirmed Monday afternoon that Winfree has been suspended indefinitely from Randy Edsall‘s football program.  And, once again, the suspension is connected to a violation of the student-athlete code of conduct.

Last season, Winfree caught 11 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.  Because of attrition, Winfree would be in line for a bigger role in the Terps’ passing offense.

Thanks to Marcus Leak withdrawing from school late last month, the Terps won’t return their top four in receiving yards from the 2014 season: Stefon Diggs (792, early entry into NFL draft), Deon Long (575, expired eligibility) Leak (297) and Jacquille Veii (230, transfer).

Those four departures mean that the leading returning receiver in terms of yards is Amba Etta-Tawo (222). The leading returning receiver in receptions is running back Wes Brown (21). The good news for the Terps is that Levern Jacobs, the team’s leading receiver in 2013, is returning from an injury that cost him most of the 2014 season.

Terps’ pass-catching corps springs another Leak

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Last month it was reported that running back Jacquille Veii, a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, had decided to leave the Terrapins.  A month later, the Terps’ passing game has taken another hit.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun is reporting that Marcus Leak has withdrawn from school due to personal reasons.  In May of 2013, Leak left under similar circumstances, although he ultimately returned.

It’s unclear if a return is in the cards this time around as well.

Last season, Leak was third on the team in receptions (20) and receiving yards (297), while he was second in receiving touchdowns (three).  With Leak’s departure, the Terps won’t return their top four in receiving yards from the 2014 season: Stefon Diggs (792, early entry into NFL draft), Deon Long (575, expired eligibility) and Veii (230).

Those four departures mean that the leading returning receiver in terms of yards is Amba Etta-Tawo (222). The leading returning receiver in receptions is running back Wes Brown (21). The good news for the Terps is that Levern Jacobs, the team’s leading receiver in 2013, is returning from an injury that cost him most of the 2014 season.

Leak’s departure comes one day after Maryland announced the addition of quarterback Daxx Garman as a graduate transfer.

Maryland heads to Big Ten play on a high note

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Maryland will make its Big Ten debut next week with a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana to play the Hoosiers. The Terps will certainly be heading into their new conference schedule on the right foot after getting the big plays to go their way in defeating  Syracuse 34-20 on the road Saturday afternoon.

C.J. Brown passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns and Brandon Ross (97 yards, 1 touchdown) and Marcus Leak (93 yards, 1 touchdown) each came close to 100-yard days. Stefon Diggs may not have had a big stat game but was a key contributor as well with six catches for 56 yards and some work on special teams and the running game. The Maryland offense has shown some good things in non-conference play that should carry over to Big Ten play. But the Maryland defense is going to have to get better.

Despite losing, Syracuse piled up nearly 500 yards of offense against Maryland (roughly 115 more yards than Maryland accumulated). It was big plays that helped Maryland overcome the yardage battle. Maryland had a 90-yard touchdown (Brown to Ross) and an interception returned for an 88-yard touchdown by William Likely. Maryland avoided turning the football over and forced two turnovers in the game. For Syracuse, preventing costly mistakes will be a key area focused on in practice before getting ready to dive into ACC play.

Syracuse first needs to make sure they can count on quarterback Terrel Hunt throwing the football. He completed just half of his attempts against Maryland for 219 yards, but he also added a team-high 143 rushing yards and a touchdown. Syracuse also had a good day from running back Prince-Tyson Gulley with 138 rushing yards and an average of 9.9 yards per carry. The potential is there for Syracuse’s offense if they can put it all together.

Syracuse will face Notre Dame in MetLife Stadium next week, which sort of qualifies as an aCC game with Notre Dame’s relationship with the ACC. But the Orange will officially get started with ACC play the following week against the team that replaced Maryland in the conference, Louisville.

Maryland gets the big plays to go their way in first half at Syracuse

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After losing at home on a last-second field goal to West Virginia last week, Maryland is looking to rebound on the road against a brief, one-time conference foe. Up in the dome in Syracuse, Maryland holds a halftime lead on the Orange, 31-13.

Maryland has been finding success through the air in the first half. C.J. Brown has completed seven of 12 passes for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brandon Ross had the big offensive play of the half with a 90-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Marcus Leak has added 81 yards on three catches as well for the Terps. It was an 88-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Maryland’s William Likely  toward the end of the first half that gave Maryland quite the cushion and turned the momentum of the game heading to the break 180 degrees in favor of the road team.

Syracuse has shown plenty of ability to take control of this game, but has to avoid mistakes in the second half. The Orange have outgained Maryland 362-276 in total offensive yards. Big plays have just been the story of the game for Maryland and have gone against Syracuse.