The Maryland football team gave scholarships to six walk-ons Tuesday, rewarding the various players for their offseason performances and allowing the team to reach the Football Bowl Subdivision limit of 85 scholarships in the process.
Linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, running back Kwabena Ofori, defensive back Clarence Claiborne, long snapper Greg Parcher, fullback Jeff Hernandez and defensive lineman Alex Walker were all called into Coach Randy Edsall’s office Tuesday and informed of their financial aid.
“It’s not every day that we get a chance to bring young men into your office and sit down and visit with them and talk to them, kids who are paying their own way to go to school,” Edsall said Tuesday. “For some, it was really emotional. To be able to do that just makes it feel good for them and their families. To let those guys know, and everybody, if you work real hard, and you have ability, and you do what people ask you to do, there are rewards out there for them.”
Of the six, only Parcher enters the season as a starter. The junior has not seen game action since matriculating at Maryland, but replaces Tim Downs, himself a former walk-on,
Claiborne, Hernandez and Walker were all listed as reserves on the two-deep depth chart released Monday by the Terps. With A.J. Francis shifted from starting nose tackle to right defensive end after both Andre Monroe and Keith Bowers got hurt, Walker slots in as the backup nose tackle behind Darius Kilgo.
Claiborne appeared in four games last season for the Terps after transferring from Bowie State following his freshman season in 2009, and will back up Sean Davis at the strong safety position. Davis became the starter after Matt Robinson suffered an injury to his left shoulder. Hernandez, Claiborne’s former teammate at Bowie State, opens the season as the backup fullback behind Tyler Cierski.
Cudjoe-Virgil, a transfer from Seton Hill University, is sitting out the season per NCAA rules. The linebacker set a single-season school record with six blocked kicks in 2011. Ofori has not played in a game since joining the Terps as a sophomore in 2010.
“We’re all very, very proud of them, thankful for their efforts and their hard work,” Edsall said. “I know their parents are going to be very proud of them for what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished.”
Follow me on Twitter @alex_prewitt.