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Maryland Expects It Depth at Wide Receiver to Be One of the Team's Strengths

Torrey Smith, Maryland's only returning starter at wide receiver, averaged 14 yards per catch last season, but job security is still a concern given the unit's depth.
Torrey Smith, Maryland's only returning starter at wide receiver, averaged 14 yards per catch last season, but job security is still a concern given the unit's depth. (By Joe Jaszewski -- Associated Press)
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By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 21, 2009

Webb Dulin has posted the second-highest strength index in school history, impressed teammates with two of the quickest feet of any Maryland wide receiver and earned the confidence of Coach Ralph Friedgen, who feels Dulin is good enough to make plays in games.

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One problem: Friedgen feels the same way about nine other wide receivers.

"I can go out every day, work hard, do the right things, make all the catches," said Dulin, a third-year sophomore. "And that does not mean you'll be on the field because everyone is doing the same thing."

The Terrapins have plenty of concerns during preseason camp -- the offensive and defensive lines being at the top of the list -- but depth at wide receiver is not one of them. While last season's wide receiving corps featured a marquee face in Darrius Heyward-Bey, this season's group is defined by strength in numbers.

Its success largely hinges on whether an inexperienced line can give quarterback Chris Turner enough time to spread the ball around, because the unit -- which includes no seniors -- promises to be among Maryland's strongest, featuring at least 10 players with unique skills, all of whom could see action.

Although Maryland's wide receivers hesitate to say the team possesses another Heyward-Bey, who was selected seventh overall in April's NFL draft, they otherwise ooze confidence. They expect, at a minimum, to have the most dangerous receiving corps in the ACC. And they expect, at a minimum, to lead Maryland to a 10-win season.

"Everybody is trying to be a team player," sophomore wide receiver Ronnie Tyler said, "but everybody in that meeting room feels he is the best receiver in the country and deserves the right to be on the field."

Among those inside that room is the fastest Maryland wide receiver, junior Emani Lee-Odai, who can cover 14 yards in three long strides. "We just call him 'Speed,' " wide receiver Kevin Dorsey said. "He runs so fast he can't stop."

Then there is Tyler, who teammates said makes more acrobatic catches than anyone on the team. The 5-foot-11 Tyler routinely impresses his teammates by dashing across the field and securing high throws that seem beyond his reach.

"He makes some ridiculous catches," wide receiver Tony Logan said.

And still there is Dorsey, a redshirt freshman with good size (6 feet 2, 205 pounds), strong instincts and a penchant for making big plays. "He has huge hands," wide receiver Adrian Cannon said. "His hand is like two of everyone else's."

But among Lee-Odai, Tyler and Dorsey, all likely will play, but none could start. Tyler is battling junior LaQuan Williams at one spot, while sophomore Torrey Smith and Cannon sit atop the depth chart at the other two slots.

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