Three of the University of Maryland's top senior football players who missed all or most of this season will return to the Terrapins next season, Coach Jerry Claiborne said yesterday.

The three, all preseason Atlantic Coast Conference All-Star selections, are tight end Eric Sievers, defensive back Lloyd Burruss and defensive guard Marlin Van Horn.

Burruss, once one of the nation's top punt returners, suffered a broken leg before the season started. Van Horn and Sievers both had knee injuries incurred during the first two games.

Under NCAA rules, a player who participates in two games or less in the first half of the season because of injury will be granted an extra's year eligibility.

Injuries have been cited as a major reason for the Treps' 6-4 record.Saturday they go against Virginia, also 6-4, in the season finale at Byrd Stadium. Maryland has had 21 starters miss one or more games this season with injuries.

So, starting off his weekly press conference after last Saturday's lackluster 28-7 victory over Louisville, Claiborne said, "The best thing about the game was that we came out of it with no injuries."

The feeling in College Park at this point is that the Terps have only an outside shot at landing the last remaining open bowl berth if they beat Virginia. Claiborne said that the winner of the game certainly "deserves a bid."

The only possible place for the Terps would be in Birmingham's Hall of Fame Classic.

Kentucky will get the Hall of Fame bid if it beats Tennessee Saturday. If the Wildcats lose, then the Maryland-Virginia winner would be back in the picture.

Claiborne said the emergence of sophomore quarterback Todd Kirtley was a major reason for the Cavs' success.