By the time I walked into Gossett Team House at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, I already had spent the morning writing a lengthy draft of a story about the expected departure of Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien. I expected the news to emerge at some point Wednesday, and it did.
In consultation with editors, I awaited final, concrete confirmation that O’Brien would indeed transfer. The most interesting and telling comment all day came from Maryland football spokesman Shawn Nestor, who said that Maryland could neither confirm nor deny a television reporter’s tweet that O’Brien was going to transfer.
And so the waiting game was on. Long story short: The day ended with O’Brien’s exit being not quite a done-done deal yet.
Will O’Brien have a change or heart? Or will he become a college football free agent and, assuming he graduates this spring, explore options to be eligible to play immediately anywhere in the country for two seasons? It is a personal decision, a family decision, and not an easy one for a guy who has a lot of friends on and off the football team at a school and in an area that he loves.
For Maryland’s football team, at the risk of overstating what is at stake, the next few days will be a critical time in the young tenure of Coach Randy Edsall.
I have heard from many, many fans. The feedback generally includes these sentiments:
Lose O’Brien and you lose the face of the program, the player who gave fans hope that Maryland could emerge from mediocrity to become a national contender. Lose O’Brien and you are down to one experienced quarterback, the mobile C.J. Brown, on your roster next season. Lose O’Brien and face more questions about why so many players are leaving College Park.
The other issue is how sensitive of a time this is for the Maryland football program. At the same time news leaks about more possible transfers, a certain five-star wide receiver prospect is mulling over whether to play for the Terrapins.
Stefon Diggs, a top 10 national prospect from Good Counsel, is considering playing for Maryland and is reportedly slated to announce his decision on Friday evening. I was told O’Brien, in fact, was one of his hosts during his recent visit to Maryland. How does this news affect Maryland’s chances of landing the big-name playmaker it desperately needs?
As we stand now, there’s still a chance Maryland could have both O’Brien and Diggs on the field next season. That’s the best-case scenario. There’s also a chance the Terrapins could have one of the two. The worst-case scenario, of course, is watching them play elsewhere in the fall.
Again, I don’t want to overstate it, but the next few days are important. Please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your thoughts on the latest turn of events with the Maryland football program.
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