Believe it or not, C.J. Brown is finally gone from Maryland.
The quarterback was a member of the Terrapin football team for six years. But 2014 was his last campaign, which means that there’ll be a new QB running the Maryland offense this fall.
Who it will be, though, is far from determined.
Like there is happening at numerous Big Ten schools — see Michigan, Northwestern — there’s a much-discussed quarterback competition going on at Maryland. This race features three guys: Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Daxx Garman. And it would appear your guess is as good as anyone's as to which of the three will start the season-opener against Richmond on Sept. 5.
“We’re all great competitors, and that’s great because it will bring out the best game in each of us,” Hills said Monday during the team’s media day. “We’re each going to give 100 percent every time because the position is open for anyone to take like coach (Randy) Edsall said.”
Rowe and Hills have been with Maryland for a while now, each starting a handful of games during their careers and each falling victim to the same injury bug that so often bothered Brown. After Brown tore his ACL ahead of the 2012 season, Hills started the team’s first seven games. Then he tore his ACL, forcing Rowe to step in and play in a couple games before he tore his ACL.
Hills redshirted in 2013, and when Brown suffered another injury, Rowe started a couple more games. Last season, more injuries meant more playing time for both Rowe and Hills.
All in all, Rowe has completed 53.7 percent of his career throws for 1,768 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Hills has completed 57 percent of his career passes for 1,422 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Garman, though, might be commanding the most attention after he transferred in from Oklahoma State this offseason. He made eight starts for the Cowboys last season and threw for a total of 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 12 interceptions.
No one has really emerged as a leader yet, with camp just underway. But with all three guys capable of winning the job, the attention this position battle will receive is unlikely to diminish any time soon.
“Everybody starts from the same starting line,” offensive coordinator Mike Lockley said. “Perry has started and won games here. Caleb has started a couple of games here. Daxx has started and played at this level at Oklahoma State. They all are coming from a place where they have had opportunities as a starter, so they all start from the same point and work from there.”
Garman is the man garnering much of that attention, given his newness to the program as well as his claim to the most recent experience among the trio. He’s been around, starting at Arizona before moving to Oklahoma State and now Maryland. But he won his first four career starts and played a big factor in five of the Cowboys’ six wins last season en route to a bowl appearance.
That experience is something Edsall is pretty excited about.
“He's a young man that went to Arizona first and then had the coaching change and then went from Arizona to Oklahoma State. Started games there at Oklahoma State, won games. Very smart. Very cerebral. Throws a very catchable and accurate ball,” Edsall said last month during Big Ten Media Days. “And so he's coming in, and he's challenging Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills for the quarterback job. But the thing that I like about him, he's an experienced young man. He's a young man that won at a very high level. Came from a very good high school program. And somebody that has adapted and fit in very, very well, you know, with our team.”
“You only get better from experience, and I valued my time at Oklahoma State,” Garman said Monday. “I’m ready to take that experience and elevate my game to a new level here at Maryland.”
That’s not to say, though, that the other two guys are without experience or that Garman’s is any more valuable than their’s. This race is wide open.
“That is going to be an interesting battle,” Edsall said. “Daxx and Caleb and Perry are going to fight it out, and we will see how it all unfolds. They are all eager and they are all hungry and they all want to be the guy. We’ll see how it goes.”