The quarterback position at Maryland was a revolving door in 2015.
Perry Hills began the season, but was replaced by Caleb Rowe when Maryland showed an inability to stretch the field vertically.
Rowe was plagued by turnovers, for the year throwing an interception on nearly 1 in 10 pass attempts. When former offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over at the interim head coach following Randy Edsall’s firing, Maryland turned to Hills full-time and tried to build the offense around his strengths.
With injuries, fullback Shane Cockerille was moved back to the quarterback position, which he was recruited to play out of high school, and even saw time.
Now begins the process of rebuilding under new head coach DJ Durkin.
Four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins flipped his commitment from Maryland to Ohio State after the staff change, meaning the player who had become the assumed starter in 2016 is now wearing scarlet and gray.
Maryland added three-star Alabama native Tyrrell Pigrome and Indiana native Max Bortenschlager late in the 2016 class, but those two are not enrolled for the spring semester. That means Durkin is evaluating Hills, Rowe, Cockerille, and redshirt freshman Gage Shaffer.
“That’s an ongoing process,” Durkin said Tuesday after his team’s second practice of the spring. “It’s always hardest on the quarterbacks early because of timing and everything else going on and learning the offense and so we’ll keep evaluating that as we go.”
The quarterback will have to fit into the system being implemented by new offensive coordinator Walt Bell, a run-spread offense look that he is bringing with him from Arkansas State.
Though Bell says there is no prototype for a quarterback who can be successful in the offense, a quarterback with mobility is an asset. Bell’s quarterback last season at Arkansas State, Fredi Knighten, rushed for 400 yards in 2015.
That would seem to point to Hills as the most well-suited for the scheme. Durkin praised him on Tuesday, including pointing him out as one of the standouts during winter workouts.
“Perry had a really good offseason and he shows he’s a leader,” Durkin said. “He’s a tough guy, which is good. That’s an important part of that position that sometimes isn’t talked about all the time. You’ve got to be tough.”
The coach also pointed out positives from Rowe, Shaffer, and Cockerille. This early in the spring under a new staff, very little seems decided.
“They’re all getting reps and they all got equal opportunity to show what they can do.”