After a year in Knoxville, Tennessee, cornerback D’Andre Payne decided he wanted to play closer to home.
The Washington D.C. native announced on Twitter that he will transfer and become a member of Randy Edsall‘s Maryland Terrapins.
As a freshman, Payne played in eight games and registered four tackles.
Prior to arriving in Knoxville, the defensive back was considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and held over 30 scholarship offers.
Payne will have to sit out the 2015 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules, but he should be in position to compete for a starting job with Alvin Hill and Undray Clark graduating after the season.
Some institutions are serious about keeping the student in student-athlete.
The Maryland Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of a policy “denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players don’t measure up academically”, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics,” former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who is a member of the Board of Regents, told the Sun. “They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability.”
Maryland approved a “lifetime guarantee degree” in August. At that time, athletic director Kevin Anderson said, “Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities. We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”
The school’s commitment — which extends to Towson, Coppin State and UMBC — took a logical step by making its coaches more accountable for the academic performance of their athletes.
The coaches’ bonuses will ultimately be tied to the school’s yearly Academic Progress Rate. To determine a school’s APR, as defined by the NCAA, “a score of a thousand means every student-athlete on that team stayed eligible and returned to school. You begin losing points for students who are not eligible and/or are not retained.”
During the 2012-13 seasons, the Maryland Terrapins received a score of 950, which would have been worst among Big Ten schools. Clearly, there is room for improvement from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.
This decision also becomes a recruiting advantage for the Terrapins. With the school’s added emphasis on education and new demands on its coaches, parents can see how dedicated the university is to each student-athlete. Education is at the forefront for Maryland, and it will only help the school’s athletics.
The Maryland Terrapins may be without the team’s leading receiver from last season and a major contributor on special teams for an undetermined amount of time.
Junior wide receiver Levern Jacobs and senior linebacker Alex Twine were arrested Thursday on charges of second-degree assault. The original charges stem from an April 19 incident.
“We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more information” Maryland head coach Randy Edsall told the Baltimore Sun‘s Matt Zentiz. “We take these matters very seriously. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Last season, Jacobs led the team with 47 receptions for 640 yards. Although, Jacobs wasn’t expected to start for the Terrapins this season due to Maryland’s depth at wide receiver.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do at the receiver position,” Edsall told InsideMDSports.com’s Josh Stirn at the start of fall camp. “We’ve got to step it up a bit. We’re not looking for receivers that can just catch the ball around here. This isn’t flag football. This isn’t a 7 on 7. We’ve got to have complete receivers. We’ve got to get our receivers to do that and our receivers have got to make sure that they listen to Keenan [McCardell] and do exactly what they ask them to do. If they do that with the talent they have, they can be very good. But we’re not there yet and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Jacobs current predicament will create more opportunities for his younger brother, Tavion Jacobs, who impressed the coaching staff this summer.
Twine, meanwhile, made 12 starts and played in 34 games since becoming a member of the Terrapins. Twine provides critical depth at linebacker while serving as Maryland’s special teams ace.
Due to Edsall’s reaction to the their arrests, both will likely face suspensions from the team.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer might be a little jealous of the Maryland Terrapins. The Buckeyes may be favored to win the Big Ten Conference and they’re one of the most talented teams in college football, but they don’t have a wide receiver the caliber of Maryland’s Stefon Diggs.
Meyer was quite complimentary of Diggs when asked about the receiver at the Big Ten’s media days.
“Very athletic. Diggs is one of the best players in the country in my opinion,” Meyer told the Baltimore Sun’s Matt Zenitz.
Meyer went as far as proclaiming the Terrapins could be competitive during the program’s first season in the Big Ten Conference.
If Maryland is going to live up to Meyer’s expectations, Diggs will have to be fully healthy and return to the same explosive player he was prior to breaking his leg Oct. 19 against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Diggs missed the final six games of the season.
But Diggs says he’s fully healthy and ready for fall camp.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown believes Diggs will be the same explosive player seen prior to the injury.
A healthy Diggs is a dangerous player. As a freshman, he finished eighth nationally in all-purpose yards. Diggs averaged 17.3 yards per catch last season and Maryland was 5-1 before the receiver was knocked out of the lineup.
Even though Maryland was picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten’s eastern division, Diggs will be a reason to watch the Terrapins each Saturday.
The Big Ten Conference is adamant about expanding its presence on the East Coast, particularly in New York City.
Adding Rutgers to the league, reaching an agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl and opening an office in Manhattan wasn’t quite enough to sate the conference’s desires.
The Big Ten Conference is considering hosting regular season contests in New York City at Yankee Stadium and Washington D.C., according to cbssports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.
The conference would use the neutral sites to help cultivate rivalries between Penn State and its newest members, Rutgers and Maryland.
“Like with Yankee Stadium — would there be a case where Rutgers or Penn State or Maryland, would they want to move a game to an iconic stadium like that?” Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman posed to Fowler. “You could bring in, for Rutgers, probably another 10 to 15,000 people there. Is that a game that makes sense to move there? Probably.”
It can also serve as an opportunity for the new schools to benefit from the more established programs in the conference. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin have national followings and their fans travel well. Bigger venues to host these programs will be beneficial for both the programs playing in the games and the conference.
High-profile venues can also be used to entice marquee opponents as additions to non-conference schedules. Rutgers, for example, will travel to Seattle this fall to open the season against the Pac-12’s Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field. Rutgers can use the lure of Yankee Stadium to bring in other opponents from the Pac-12, Big 12 or SEC.
By potentially using stadiums at key demographic locations, the Big Ten Conference will be taking full advantage of its expanded footprint and the markets it cherished when the decision was made to expand to 14 teams.