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What will an NFL team be getting in Terps running back Anthony McFarland? He explains

What will an NFL team be getting in Terps running back Anthony McFarland? He explains

Former Terrapins running back Anthony McFarland played just 23 games for Maryland, but he certainly left his mark on the program.

As a redshirt freshman in 2018, the running back totaled 1,034 rushing yards on just 114 carries, breaking the school's all-time single-season rushing yards record by a freshman. He had multiple games of over 200 yards on the ground and immediately became the Terps' most feared weapon on offense.

McFarland was unable to replicate the same product as a sophomore in 2019, dealing with an ankle injury for much of the season. Still, he averaged over five yards per carry and led the team with nine total touchdowns.

The running back declared for the NFL Draft this winter, foregoing his final two seasons of college eligibility. While McFarland's production was derailed a season ago by multiple nagging injuries, he proved several times throughout his college career that he can be a star at the next level. He's likely to be a mid-round selection in this month's NFL Draft, but will likely have the chance to make an immediate impact.

The former Maryland star joined the Redskins Talk podcast, where he explained what type of player and person whichever NFL team that drafts him will be getting.

1. He's willing to take on any role and will work hard in it.

Over the past two seasons, McFarland was the lead back for the Terrapins. He deferred some carries to his fellow backfield mate, Javon Leake, but there was no question who the No. 1 running back on the roster was.

McFarland understands that he likely won't be the top running back on the depth chart for whichever team drafts him. That doesn't mean he won't be later in the season, or even towards the end of training camp. The path to becoming a starting running back in the NFL has many different routes. 

But whichever team drafts the former Terps star will be getting a player willing to contribute in multiple ways.

"I'm a hardworking player. I'm a very hardworking player," McFarland said. "I'm coachable. I'm, I'm willing to do anything, you know, to make a team or to be viable to a team."

McFarland rarely played special teams with Maryland, outside of occasionally returning kickoffs. But that's a role he said he's willing to play, too.

"I just want to let coaches know, I know coaches know that I'm explosive and all that good stuff," he said. "And I want them to know stuff that they probably, you know, really don't know about me and that's I'm willing to do whatever. You know, I work hard. I'm humble. I'm a humble person, or I'm just as humbled as the next man, but I'm going to work my hardest as the next man, I'm not going to get too big-headed. You know, never too high, never too low man. I just, I just want to show coaches and players that I'm a good person on and off the field."

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2. He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

Throughout his two seasons with the Terrapins, McFarland showcased his big-play ability countless times. He notched nine career games of 100-plus yards on the ground and had two outings with over 200 yards in back-to-back weeks.

The running back has a rare combination of size and explosiveness that allows him to break one off any time he touches the ball. 

"I feel like I'm a home run hitter. I feel like anywhere on the field, I'm able to take the distance," he said. "No matter where I'm at in the field, I always believe every play is the big play. And that's the thing about I feel like me playing running back because I feel like literally, every single play is a big play and it can happen anytime."

The best example of this is from McFarland's 2018 outing against Ohio State, without a doubt the best game of his collegiate career. McFarland finished with a career-high 298 rushing yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns, one an 81-yard scamper and the other from 75-yards out.

Despite McFarland's heroic efforts, the Terps came up short in overtime, 52-51. The loss is still something that bugs him today.

"I wanted to win so bad, man," he said. "I wanted that win bad as ever. That game still haunts me."

3. McFarland models his game after Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk.

When former Rams running back Marshall Faulk played his last NFL snap in 2005, McFarland was just seven years old. However, the Maryland product looked up to the Hall of Famer growing up and tries to resemble Faulk's game with his own.

"My favorite running back is Marshall Faulk, just because I feel like I have the versatility he brought to the game," McFarland said. "I always felt he was the all-purpose back that I wanted to be like."

Versatility was arguably Faulk's biggest strength, as the running back was just as much of a threat in the passing game as he was as a rusher. Faulk is one of three running backs in NFL history with 10,000 career rushing yards and 5,000 career receiving yards, and the only rusher ever to have surpassed 12,000 rushing yards and 6,000 receiving yards in their career.

At Maryland, McFarland showed he has the ability to be a pass-catching back, but wasn't fully used in that aspect of the offense. In 23 games with the Terps, McFarland totaled just 24 receptions and one touchdown. 

McFarland (5-foot-9, 198 lbs.) has a similar stature to Faulk (5-foot-10, 210 lbs.) and believes he has the ability to be just as impactful as a pass-catcher as he is a runner. While he never watched Faulk play live, he was hooked once he first saw the Hall of Famer's highlight tape.

"I watched his highlights, and I'm like, 'Who is this?'" he said. "I started studying, and I'm like 'That's my favorite football player.'"

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How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

When 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker committed to Howard University in D.C., he sent shockwaves through the entire landscape of the basketball world, becoming the first top recruit to announce his intent to play at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) since Earl Jones played for the University of the District of Columbia in 1980.

While the decision was intricate and monumental on a multitude of levels, Maker revealed an interesting layer of his decision-making process:

He thought of future NBA lottery pick LaMelo Ball.

"I figured if LaMelo Ball could go to Australia, play in facilities like that, and still be considered a top NBA prospect, why not Howard?" Maker said.

Ball's path to the draft very well may be one of the most remarkable in sports history. Fast-forwarding to his final season at SPIRE, Ball was not eligible to attend college, therefore he agreed to a deal with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia to play in the NBL. 

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The decision was heavily scrutinized nationally with many believing it would drastically decrease his draft stock -- one disclosed scout told USA Today “the untraditional route (NBL) will almost certainly cost him (LaMelo) once draft night approaches."

After averaging 17.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.4 rebounds in the NBL and having his season cut short due to a bone bruise in his left foot, Ball is in the conversation to go the number one overall in the upcoming draft.

Point made. 

"People also sleep on the competitive nature of the MEAC [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference]," Maker said. "The pace and open flow style of play of the MEAC is more similar to the NBA, in my opinion. It’s a read-and-react league, so it will definitely help me get ready for the NBA."

Former head coach and NBC Sports Washington basketball analyst Jimmy Patsos, believes in Makers' decision and thinks it could spark a huge movement within college basketball. 

"If one person can lead a revolution, one person can lead a movement, this could be the guy," Patsos said on Friday. "Why not him changing the landscape of college basketball?"

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Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

The Big Ten Conference announced that the league will only play in-conference matchups for the fall 2020 season if games are able to be held. 

The news was first reported by The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach and then confirmed by other outlets.

While this is a gigantic step for the conference as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic, this is most noteworthy to college football. 

Typically, the Big Ten holds nine in-conference contests for each school out of a 13-game schedule. It is unclear if the league will expand its conference schedule to accommodate or continue with nine games. ESPN is reporting that many schools would like a 10-game schedule. 

It is also possible the league will move around current schedules to prepare for potential interruptions, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenburg.

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Removing those nonconference games will limit the student-athletes chance at exposure to the virus. There will be less travel, less hotel stays and fewer individuals that could create a mass-spread of the virus. 

However, with no out-of-conference contests for the upcoming season, the league will not be able to elevate itself as a whole across the college football landscape. It will cancel marquee matchups such as Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at Virginia Tech and Miami at Michigan State.

For the Maryland Terrapins, they lose a big road contest with West Virginia. Additionally, they had home games scheduled against Towson and Northern Illinois.

As one of the biggest leagues in the country (14 teams), the Big Ten does have the flexibility to expand its schedule with each team playing a full season. However, it could drastically affect how the league is perceived in the scope of the College Football Playoff, especially if other leagues do not follow suit. A one or two-loss league champion does not have any national measuring sticks.

The Big Ten has had a team in the Playoff four of the seven seasons it has been in effect. 

This decision comes on the heels of the Ivy League canceling all of their fall sports for the upcoming semester. The Ivy was the first league across the country to make a move so drastic. It should be noted that the Ivy was also the first league to cancel all spring sports at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This move does not guarantee that the Big Ten will still have football games this fall. It merely serves as a simpler attempt to safely have a season. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren isn't even convinced there will be a season. 

The conference also will allow student-athletes to choose not to play for the 2020-21 academic year to maintain their scholarship.

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