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Maryland's Will Likely breaks 76-year-old Big Ten record

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Maryland's Will Likely breaks 76-year-old Big Ten record

COLLEGE PARK -- In the moment, Will Likely wasn’t aware exactly how many yards he had racked up on special teams Saturday against Richmond.

It turns out, his 233 punt return yards set a new Big Ten record, eclipsing the mark set by Iowa’s Nile Kinnick in 1939.

“1930?” Likely asked, in disbelief that he could be hearing that correctly when told of the record by a reporter postgame. He was given the more precise date -- 1939.

“That’s a long time. It’s a blessing, man, just be able to do that, to be able to break somebody’s record who did it that long [ago] and it hasn’t been broken? That’s a blessing.”

Richmond kept punting it to him and he kept returning it. And when Richmond tried to punt it away from him, he kept going and getting it and returning it again.

On his last return of the day, he dipped and dodged 67 yards with very little gas left in the tank, diving from just outside the goal line to reach across and score a touchdown.

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“Give Will credit. He was going to track them down,” head coach Randy Edsall said. “He’s a ball hawk and he loves getting that ball in his hands.”

It’s rare that a program is able to send a starting-caliber returner to the NFL and have one come in the next season and be as good or better than the one who has left.

Stefon Diggs, who shared duties with Likely last season, has been tremendous for the Minnesota Vikings as a punt returner in the preseason.

Likely steps in full-time and in one game tallied more punt return yards (233) than he did all of last season (225). The single-game total of 233 places him 12th on Maryland's single-season list.

“I don’t know if there’s enough superlatives to use in regards to Will Likely,” Edsall said. “He’s a joy to be around. He’s a joy to coach.”

As electric as Likely’s punt returns are to watch for entertainment value alone, they’re also crucially important to what Maryland wants to do offensively this season.

Quarterback Perry Hills will continue to settle into the starting role and if he can set up in an opponent’s territory on a regular basis thanks to Likely, that makes his job much easier.

One more note on the player whose record Likely broke on Saturday? Kinnick went on to win the Heisman Trophy during that 1939 season.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

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Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.