Analyzing Maryland's Running Back Room
Maryland's running back room will look very different heading into the 2020 season. With Anthony McFarland (Steelers) and Javon Leake (Giants) off to the NFL, Maryland will lean on a pair of veteran running backs as they welcome two true freshman to the rotation. As the run game has developed the backbone of Maryland's offense the last four seasons with a deep rotation, we take a look at the new-look running back room.
2019 Stats: 265 rushing yards, two touchdowns on 63 carries; 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 15 receptions
Fleet-Davis played sparingly as a junior, though his physicality and soft hands gave him opportunities to shine on offense. The junior saw his best production come in the first two weeks of the season where he tallied 146 rushing yards and a touchdown on 27 combined carries against Howard and Syracuse, while he continued to provide a spark on offense. Fleet-Davis provided the lone touchdown for Maryland in the road loss at Minnesota, while he recorded a catch in seven of his ten played games last season. His most productive season came in 2018, where he was able to show off his toughness as he eluded open-field tackles in Matt Canada’s offense, but heading into 2020, Fleet-Davis will get a chance to reprove that run style as a staple in the rotation. Fleet-Davis was suspended for the final two games of the 2019 season for a non-football related incident, but has solidified his standing as he looks to turn the page as a senior.
2019 Stats: 173 rushing yards, two touchdowns on 17 carries; 16 receiving yards on four receptions
The redshirt senior is back with a chip on his shoulder. After playing in three games through a torn ACL as a junior, Funk tore his ACL a second time in Maryland’s loss to Temple. Funk showcased himself early in his career, amassing five of his seven career touchdowns as an underclassman, but the Damascus standout remains a key figure the locker room. Heading into the 2020 season with new faces in the backfield, Funk will look to capitalize on his leadership. “Jake played an integral role, not just on offense, but on our special teams,” Locksley said last season following Funk’s injury. "That's my guy, it's unfortunate what happened to him but I know Jake he's still going to be a good leader, being on the sideline talking to us so you know, I know Jake's upset right now but it's definitely more to come today,” quarterback Josh Jackson added. “He was on kickoff making a lot of tackles, running back and everything for us.”
2019 Stats (HS): 1,282 rushing yards, 22 touchdowns on 129 carries
Maryland landed the Detroit King (Mi.) running back last summer following his second unofficial to campus, ultimately announcing his decision just days after the trip. As the Terps held off Michigan State for his signature, Boone comes to College Park with a big role. The 6-foot, 230-pound back ran for nearly 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 129 carries as a senior as he landed on the Second Team Dream Team Offense for Metro Detroit. The two-time state champion—and younger brother of former NFL running back Zurlon Tipton—has the frame to run in between the tackles, but his open field ability and hands make him the dynamic every down back for Maryland. For Maryland, getting Boone acclimated to the college speed will be the priority heading into the season as the explosive addition works his way into the rotation. “He’s the Detroit Metro player of the year,” Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley said during his Signing Day press conference. “A big, strong, physical runner that has the ability to play in space, he catches the ball well, plays with a little chip on his shoulder and is really physical without the football.”
2018 Stats (HS): 1,024 rushing yards, nine touchdowns on 151 carries; 160 receiving yards and two touchdowns on eleven receptions
Maryland hung around the recruitment of Owasso (Ok.) running back Isaiah Jacobs as the connection between head coach Mike Locksley and former Alabama running back Josh Jacobs—Isaiah’s older brother—gave the staff an in with he and the family. Running backs coach Elijah Brooks helped seal the deal during his December 13 official visit as Isaiah inked with the Terps during the early signing period. The addition of the 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back gave the Terps an explosive back that has the breakaway speed to add a dynamic in the passing game. Jacobs did miss time as a senior with a leg injury but has since regained full health and he’ll look to bring his patient yet explosive running style into the offense.