NCAA

5 prospects Redskins and Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Baylor

5 prospects Redskins and Ravens fans should be watching in Oklahoma vs. Baylor

One week after the "game of the century" in Tuscaloosa, attention now goes to the Big 12 where Oklahoma travels to play undefeated Baylor. The Sooners are a tradition power team and so the team is loaded with potential NFL talent. Baylor also boasts a few potential NFL stars who are fueling that teams' surprising rise this season.

Here are the players Redskins and Ravens fans should be watching.

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

Lamb is a high first-round talent who does not seem to generate as much buzz as you would think for a player of his caliber at his position. Lamb was overshadowed by Marquise Brown last year despite averaging more yards per catch and catching 11 touchdowns. His playing style is not flashy and he does not possess the type of breakaway speed that lends itself to big highlight plays, but he is a high-end NFL talent.

What Lamb does have is solid size and quickness. That combined with his precise routes allows him to still create separation. He is completely dependable without being flashy, the kind of guy who can always get open, make plays and move an offense.

After using a first-round draft pick on Lamb's teammate Brown last year, he is an unlikely target for the Ravens who are unlikely to use another first-round pick at the same position. Lamb could absolutely be a target for the Redskins, however, who need more weapons for quarterback Dwayne Haskins to play with.

See where Lamb is projected to go in the latest NFL Mock Draft.

ILB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

When you send Murray after the quarterback, he takes after him like he is shot out of a cannon. He has very good vision and is able to find holes in the blocking to chase down ball carriers. He is also great at keeping contain and forcing the ball to the outside or bringing down the ball-carrier whenever they try to cut back in.  You almost never see him get caught over-pursuing.

When it comes to pass defense, Murray is average at best. His strengths are definitely on the blitz and in pursuit of the ball carrier. What I really like about him is that he is a very good tackler. In this day and age when everyone tries to lower the shoulder and no one wraps up, Murray stands out. If you are anywhere within arm's reach, he is going to bring you down.

The Redskins have so many holes on the roster, they should focus on taking the best available player. With Lamb likely to go in the mid to late first round, he will probably slip outside of Washington's draft window. He could be a real target for Baltimore, however,  and a Ravens defense in need of inside linebackers.

See where Murray is projected to go in the latest NFL Mock Draft.

C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

Humphrey's wrestling background is evident when you watch him play. Despite being 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he always seems to gain good leverage when blocking and maintains his center of gravity. Run-blocking is his specialty as he loves to take it to the defense and you can often find him at the second and third levels of the field wreaking havoc with his blocks. His pass blocking is not as strong, but still very good and he never gives up on a play. He runs through the whistle each and every time he snaps the ball.

Get Humphrey in an NFL training camp and by the end of it he will be an upgrade at center over Chase Roullier.

WR Denzel Mims, Baylor

While Oklahoma has the Big 12's second-leading receiver in Lamb, Baylor has the conference's fourth-leading receiver with Denzel Mims.  Mims has 44 catches in nine games and eight touchdowns.

As a former track and field athlete, speed is definitely Mims' strength. It's not just that he is fast, it's how he uses it. Mims' ability to change pace allows him to elude defenders as he slows down, then uses a burst to create separation. He is an average route runner so he relies on this technique a bit too much.

Mims projects to be a mid-round pick so definitely a possibility for either the Redskins or Ravens to bolster their passing offense.

DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Last year, Gallimore looked like he could be an average NFL nose tackle. He could stuff up the middle and take blocks, but he was not going to contribute much else.

That is not the case this season.

Gallimore shed some fat and gained some muscle in the offseason and it is evident in his play. He suddenly is much quicker off the snap and does not just stuff up the middle anymore, he can penetrate. This is a much more versatile player than originally projected and would certainly be an asset in the middle of the defense which is a definite area of need for the Ravens.

Other potential NFL prospects to watch:

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
RB JaMycal Hasty, Baylor
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
RB Trey Sermon, Oklahoma

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This date in tournament history: Juan Dixon drops 33 to carry Terps over Kansas and into the national championship

This date in tournament history: Juan Dixon drops 33 to carry Terps over Kansas and into the national championship

The 2002 Maryland men's basketball team will stand the test of time, thanks in large part to the heroics of Juan Dixon.

The Terps got back to the Final Four in 2002 a year after being eliminated by Duke in a game where Maryland lead by as much as 22.

Gary Williams' squad entered March Madness with a No. 1 seed, coasting to the Final Four after taking down (16) Siena, (8) Wisconsin, (4) Kentucky, and (2) Connecticut.

After winning the East Regional, the Terps traveled to Atlanta, where they would face the winner the Midwest Regional, the (1) Kansas Jayhawks.

Clinging to a five-point lead with 1:14 to play in regulation, Dixon (33 points) converted on a baseline jumper to increase the Maryland lead to 7.

Steve Blake (8 points, 11 assists) converted one of his two free throws with 39 seconds to play to give the Terps an eight-point cushion.

Kansas star and current Wizards' analyst Drew Gooden (15 points, 9 rebounds) cut the lead to four with 19.8 seconds in regulation, but the Jayhawks wouldn't regain any further traction.

After a series of free throws, the Terps were able to dribble out the clock, penciling in a date with the Indiana Hoosiers, and heading to the final for the first time in school history.

"It will be a tough game," Dixon said of their upcoming matchup with Indiana. "This is our year, and hopefully we come ready Monday night."

They were more than ready.

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Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

No spring football games, no practices, no recruiting visits, and believe it or not, less time in the day.  

That is the current reality for Maryland’s head football coach, Mike Locksley. Not the easiest of circumstances to try and run a rebuilding football program in the Big 10. 
 
“Man, it’s been tough. I usually get up and get a little work out in. I’ve got an in-home gym where I can just do something to get moving,” Locksley said. “I’m kind of like a kid where if I get off schedule, I’m not very good… I get up, I get dressed. I don’t play around in my pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt.” 

Technically, the team has been on spring break this week, so there would have been no meetings in this first full week of quarantine.  But the staff has been busier than ever preparing for what life will look like when online classes begin on Monday. That is when the coaching staff will try to create some form of normalcy for their players.   

“We get eight hours a week to virtually meet with our players, so we’re working hard on developing the football intelligence that it takes using all the technology we have,” Locksley said.  

In normal times, only two hours a week would be allowed for film work or walkthroughs. The other six would be focused on strength training. These are far from normal times so this is where accountability comes into play. What they do now will pay off during the Big 10 season in the fall.   

“I think this is where you’ll see the biggest strides in the game for our programs, what these guys do when nobody is around and nobody is watching them,” Locksley said. “We always talk about being the best version of yourself and this gives our players the opportunity to do that without coaches there.”  

But it certainly makes it challenging to evaluate and develop players on a team that has much to improve upon finishing last season 3-9.  All 15 spring practices have been canceled, but Locksley says the Terrapins are focused on finding solutions for when the team is allowed back together, not excuses.  

“There’s no substitute for being able to go out and practice and if we can’t physically develop them, we need to mentally develop them,” Locksley said. “A lot of football success is about making the right decisions. That’s where teaching, the installs, and the mental conditioning will help develop our team.”  

So how do you get everyone in alignment during a time of pandemic?  First off, by staying up to date as best you can while staying home.   

“It makes you have to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Locksley said with a chuckle. “I had never heard of a Zoom meeting until about a week ago.” 

Few of us had! Of course we’re all well aware now. Working from home has become the new norm and that was the way this interview was conducted. And it will play an even bigger role as Locksley and his staff look to continue the recruiting process for the class of 2021.   

Fortunately, most recruits had already visited campus before school was shut down, but coaches are now using FaceTime, making countless phone calls, and using social media to connect with prospective future Terps. The coaching staff meets via video conference every day at 10:30 a.m., position coaches check in with their players daily and the staff reconvenes in the afternoon for updates.  

It’s a time none of us could have expected and no one can predict when it will end. But there’s still work to be done.   

“It’s about finding ways to improve yourself, not use this as an excuse for what’s to come,” Locksley said. “I think the strides we make now will determine what happens in the fall - if we are able to play football.” 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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