Maryland defensive lineman Isaiah Ross was an Eleanor Roosevelt High School senior when Shawn Petty, the Terrapins’ new quarterback, was a wide-eyed freshman. He watched Petty on the junior varsity team, and said he was a “[heck] of a player” even back then.

Once Ross arrived at Maryland, he often returned to his alma mater, watching his younger brother and Petty tear things up for the Raiders. He always heard Petty’s name, and seeing him play made Ross a proud alumnus.

“I’d go back and watch him dominate,” Ross said.


“Dominate the league, run the wing-T right, run the option right, hand a nice little arm. Reminded me somewhat of Tim Tebow.”

Wait…Tim Tebow?

“As far as high school. [Tebow] was like Superman in college, so I ain’t comparing him to that right now,” Ross said. “But as far as high school goes, he plays similar to him.”

Ever since Petty committed to Maryland – as a linebacker, not a quarterback – Ross has begun looking out for him. Freshman offensive lineman Maurice Shelton is the Terps’ third Eleanor Roosevelt graduate, so the trio make up somewhat of a mini-family.

“Of course I’m going to look out for somebody who’s coming from my school,” Ross said. “That’s like we’re family already. I look at him like a little brother. I’ve been talking to him all year. This whole time, even though he’s been a linebacker, that’s what he’s wanted. I know he’s been ready for this opportunity. I told him to take advantage of it.”

Described by teammates as laid-back and calm, even with the opportunity of a lifetime virtually dropped into his lap, Petty spoke with Ross on Saturday. They talked excitement, about how Petty’s father, Howard defensive coordinator Rayford Petty, was thrilled that his son is now a college quarterback. The expectation, Ross said, is for Petty to perform just like his predecessors.

“He’s pretty poised,” Ross said. “I feel he’s going to be comfortable. It hasn’t been that long since he’s been playing quarterback. It’s only been a half-year. He’s got his mind right, and he’s been in the film room all week.

“He won’t show it, but I know he’s excited. Coming out of high school, he came here to play linebacker, but he always told me, he thinks he can play quarterback in college, just nobody would give him a shot. Finally, this is his shot.”