Five Former Terps Who Outperformed Recruit Rankings
In the era of recruiting, the production does not always match the rating list for the prospect out of high school. In this feature, we take a look at five former Terps who outperformed their ratings as a high school recruit as they each shined during their time in College Park.
Rating: three-star, 0.8569
Position: running back
Current team: Detroit Lions
Breakdown: the western Maryland native added his offer from the hometown school after posting consecutive blazing 40-yard dash times ahead of then-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and the offensive staff. It didn’t take long for him to join the Terps’ 2015 recruiting class before he took the unit by storm. Johnson appeared in every games his first two seasons on campus before he lead the team in rushing yards (1,004) as a sophomore as he set a new program record for rushing yards per attempt. Even through coaching changes during his career, Johnson found continued success with his top-end breakaway speed as he finished his career with over 2,600 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns. Johnson battled through injury his senior season, but still became the fourth Terp to surpass 4,000 all-purpose yards that season to join Torrey Smith, LaMont Jordan and Stefon Diggs. He still sits top-five in program history in career all-purpose yards (4,196), career rushing yards (2,635), kick return yards (1,194) and number of 100-yard rushing games (11). Johnson was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and made one career start as a rookie.
Rating: three-star, 0.8399
Position: defensive line
Breakdown: the former St. John’s product was part of a stout Maryland defensive line that featured Joe Vellano, Quinton Jefferson and Darius Kilgo, but the undersized product made a name for himself during his five-year career. Monroe holds the program record for most tackle for loss yards (212), while his sack in his final game against Stanford earned him the most career sacks in program history (25). Monroe took the unit by storm following his redshirt freshman season after leading the team with five sacks. After bouncing around the CFL for his first years out of Maryland, Monroe was traded from the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Toronto Argonauts back in 2016 before announcing his retirement from football months later.
Rating: three-star, 0.8333
Position: running back
Breakdown: one of two Delaware products on the roster, Ross committed to Maryland over Army—his lone two verbal offers—and gave the offense one of their most productive running backs to trek through the program. After redshirting in 2011, Ross led the team in rushing his first two seasons after becoming the full-time starter heading into his sophomore year. The offense enjoyed a strong rushing attack as Ross became the playmaker out of the backfield that Maryland hoped to find following Da’Rel Scott’s final season. Though he sits top ten in six different categories in program history, Ross topped a new career high his senior year when he rushed for 245 yards and three of the team’s four touchdowns in the home loss to Indiana. Ross still sits top five in career rushing yards (2,543) behind LaMont Jordan, Charlie Wysocki, Steve Atkins and Ty Johnson and still within the top ten for yards per carry. Ross went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft and initially signed with the Minnesota Vikings before moving to Green Bay just three weeks later. After battling for snaps behind Green Bay running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, Ross was released just prior to the beginning of his rookie season.
Rating: three-star, 0.8435
Current team: Green Bay Packers
Breakdown: the Delaware native signed with Maryland over offers from Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple as Savage entered his Maryland career as a largely unknown commodity—but that didn’t last long. Savage made his first career start in his freshman season-finale against Rutgers before starting his final 24 games at safety. Savage ended his career ranked second in the Big Ten in interceptions, surprisingly behind Maryland linebacker Tre Watson, as Savage became the ballhawking safety the backline desperately craved. Savage finished his career in College Park with 181 tackles, eight interceptions and 22 pass deflections with half of those coming during his junior season. Savage went on to become the first defensive back selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Rating: two-star composite, 0.7882
Current team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Breakdown: After sustaining a wrist and leg fracture during his senior year, Brooks took a visit to Maryland at the tail end of the 2016 recruiting class before the staff pulled the trigger on the offer. With other Power Five interest fading following his injury, the offer gave the Terps their final commitment in the 2016 class as Brooks announced his decision just two days before signing day. It was a move that proved to be impactful to Maryland’s defense for years as Brooks transitioned into the secondary to become a three-year starter. The heat-seeking missile off the edge became the defensive piece that opposing offenses steered away from to limit Brooks’ effectiveness, but his versatility and relentless pursuit still found him around the ball nearly every play. Brooks led the team in tackles as a senior and led in tackles for loss as a sophomore and junior before being named two-time Second Team All-Big Ten. Brooks sits top-15 in program history in tackles for loss (27.5) as he totaled 231 tackles, 13 pass deflections and four interceptions. Brooks was one of two day three selections for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2020 NFL Draft, joining running back Anthony McFarland.