Josh Jackson, new transfer, can help reverse Maryland’s quarterback fortunes
First, the Maryland Terrapins swayed four-star prospect Lance LeGendre to commit to the program on National Signing Day.
Then came their second noteworthy quarterback acquisition of the month, when Josh Jackson announced Monday on social media that he will transfer to Maryland from Virginia Tech.
It requires a heap of caution to say this out loud, but Marylands fortunes could be turning at the most important position in football.
Under new coach Mike Locksley, the Terrapins are resetting at quarterback a position at which they have suffered an unusual amount of injuries this decade.
Maryland quarterbacks have experienced six ACL tears in the last seven seasons. Three suffered ACL tears in 2012 alone. Two seasons ago, two promising young quarterbacks, Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill, went down with ACL tears a few weeks apart.
In fact, due to these and other injuries, the Terrapins have not had a quarterback start every game in a season since C.J. Brown did so in 2014. It resulted in an unmemorable, 7-6 finish.
Jackson, meanwhile, already has familiarity starting every game of a campaign. He did so for Virginia Tech as a redshirt freshman in 2017, leading the Hokies to a 9-4 year. He threw for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for another 324 yards and six touchdowns.
But Jackson comes to Maryland with his own injury history. He fractured his fibula in September, which put the kibosh on his sophomore campaign. Still, a healthy Jackson could be the most talented quarterback to suit up for the Terrapins in years.
Maryland was clearly seeking an upgrade at quarterback. Locksley first tried to persuade his former starter at Alabama, Jalen Hurts, to spend his final year of eligibility in College Park. The two were seen together at a Maryland basketball game during Hurts campus visit, but the transfer chose Oklahoma instead.
Jackson, though, picked the Terrapins and is the latest offseason triumph of Locksleys first year in Maryland. He also attracted two other Division I transfers in wide receiver Sean Savoy (Jacksons former teammate at Virginia Tech) and linebacker Keandre Jones, as well as a freshman class of 18 players that ranks in the top 50 classes nationally.
Jackson is reportedly set to graduate from his program at Virginia Tech this semester, allowing him to be eligible to play the 2019 season according to NCAA rules. Hill announced his plans to transfer out of Maryland, but Jackson will join Pigrome and LeGendre in the quarterback room in College Park.
Some view Locksleys offensive style as multiple, effectively mixing pro-style plays with spread concepts. As the Crimson Tides offensive coordinator a year ago, his quarterbacks occasionally Hurts and redshirt freshman Mac Jones, but more often superstar Tua Tagovailoa combined to complete 68.7 percent of their passes for 11.1 yards per attempt, not to mention 52 passing touchdowns and seven rushing scores.