COLLEGE PARK -- Perry Hills was Maryland’s third-string quarterback one year ago as Week 1 approached. Now, he will lead Maryland under center in their opener against Richmond on Saturday.
Improbable from the outside, perhaps, but not from within, as head coach Randy Edsall maintained while talking to the media on Tuesday.
“I think people never thought he had a chance to be the quarterback and it’s the great thing about sport. It’s the great thing about life that don’t believe what other people say,” Edsall said.
“It wasn’t a popularity contest based on anything. It wasn’t politics. It was good old fashioned competition that he went out and did it.”
Hills has experience as a starter, having been thrown into the fire in 2012 as a true freshman when injuries decimated the position.
He would throw for 1,336 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions before a torn ACL ended his season. He filled in for a half in 2014 against Iowa after an injury to C.J. Brown and led Maryland to a win.
But the reality remained. He was the third-stringer. Maryland brought in a starting-caliber Big 12 quarterback in Daxx Garman during the offseason. But he overcame it all.
“If you can’t have respect for a guy who did that when nobody outside of the program thought he was going to be our starting quarterback,” Edsall said, “you can imagine how guys within the program feel about him because he went out and competed and won the job.”
The player expected to be his top target, returning wide receiver Levern Jacobs, has that respect.
"A lot of people probably doubted Perry going into camp because he hasn't really gotten that much time on the field since freshman year," he said. "He definitely showed that he deserved to be the starting quarterback going into Richmond."
The question now is how Maryland utilizes him. Brown was a true read-option quarterback last season and Hills doesn't quite fit that mold. Edsall said that he prefers to mold an offense to fit the strengths of his personnel.
More passing? More workload put on the running backs? We'll begin to see on Saturday.