COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Very few offensive linemen can start as a true freshman in college football. That feat is even more difficult in a conference like the Big Ten, where the typical blocker looks like he could (and more than likely will) play on Sundays.
But the task wasn’t too tall for Maryland’s Terrance Davis, a former four-star recruit out of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic who appeared in all 13 games for the Terps last season and finished the year with nine consecutive starts at right guard.
As he prepares for his sophomore season throughout spring ball, Davis knows the playing time he received in College Park as a rookie will help him make strides in his game and get him ready to be a full-time starter in 2017.
“I feel like that’s going to be really huge for me, just being a freshman playing against older guys,” Davis said. “In the Big Ten, it’s pretty hard to play as a true freshman so getting that experience under my belt is going to be beneficial to me next season.”
Davis admitted that being thrusted into the starting lineup a quarter of the way through the season was a bit shocking, but added that he became more comfortable with his new role over time.
“I’d say it surprised me a little bit just because of the conference that we’re in,” Davis said. “It’s the Big Ten and there’s competition every play so I was surprised. But then when you get out there and get the experience under your belt, football is football. So I got adjusted and then it was easy going.”
The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Davis, who said one of his individual goals as a sophomore is to be named to the All-Big Ten team, has been a standout on the Terps offensive line in spring ball and appears poised for a breakout campaign next season.
He credits the strides he has made so far this offseason to a more in-depth understanding of Maryland’s playbook and the work he has put into his body since last year ended.
“I feel a lot more comfortable just with the playbook,” Davis said. “When you come in as a freshman, you have to learn the whole playbook and that really slows you down because you’re thinking most of the time. You’re not really going off of instinct because you don’t know what you’re doing. So coming into the spring, I really got into the playbook. I know the plays better and I’m a little quicker so I can play faster.
“Since my freshman year, I think I’ve gotten a lot quicker with my feet thanks to Coach [Rick] Court and the winter program I went through. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot faster and that has translated into spring.”
Davis’ progression in College Park has also been aided by the presence of some of his closest friends and former high school teammates on Maryland’s roster. Davis signed with Maryland’s 2016 recruiting class along with fellow DeMatha grads Tino Ellis, Lorenzo Harrison and DJ Turner.
“Coming in with these guys, it’s been a great help to me,” Davis said. “When you first get here, you don’t know too many people and workouts are tough, so having the guys you’ve been through four years of high school with is really helpful to lean on when times get tough.”
The former Stags will also be joined this summer by the Terps’ 2017 DeMatha recruits Anthony McFarland--a four-star running back--and Marcus Minor--a four-star offensive lineman. Maryland is in pursuit of several more DeMatha products for the 2018 class and beyond, and Davis is planning on doing his fair share to make sure the pipeline from Hyattsville to College Park keeps pumping.
“We work really hard, we’re definitely on chase,” Davis said. “We try every year to keep [the recruiting pipeline from DeMatha to Maryland] going because there was a drought before us, but we’re going to keep it going this year.”