Conrad Bolston taking over for defensive tackle Randy Starks

Maryland has a few uncertainties on defense, particularly in the secondary, where the Terps lost three players who received all-conference recognition. But no player was more dominant on defense last year than Randy Starks, who, just three years removed from high school, was referred to as a future NFL star in some newspapers and regarded in December as a first- or second-round draft pick. Starks, who finished the season with 74 tackles and 71/2 sacks, decided to forgo his senior season and declare for the draft, in which he was chosen in the third round.

Enter 6-foot-3, 280-pound Conrad Bolston, a stout 19-year-old who played in nine games in 2003 as a freshman. He made seven tackles and had one sack. A graduate of St. John's High, Bolston also wrestled in high school, garnering a 48-4 record as a junior. Strength is his strength; he recorded a 550-pound squat and 405-pound bench press this spring. Coaches are excited about his potential on a line that returns ends Kevin Eli and Shawne Merriman (end-linebacker). If Bolston and another sophomore, Robert Armstrong at nose tackle, are consistent in stifling the run, the Terps' front four could be dominant.


. . . should be a strong presence