left tackle Michael Dunn had one scholarship offer coming out of high school — from FCS-level Lehigh — and the former Whitman star often thinks about how he had to walk on at Maryland after being overlooked. Many schools called him and told him he couldn’t go to their school.
“I actually think about that all the time,” Dunn said following Thursday’s practice. “It motivates me. It really does.”
Dunn weighed in at 260 pounds when he arrived in College Park in 2012, “fat and out of shape,” he said. He decided that fall that he didn’t want to be on the scout team for five years. So he paid his dues as a redshirt before earning a starting spot last year, starting nine games at right guard before moving to right tackle for the final four games.
Now a 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore, Dunn is starting to hit his stride at left tackle after being moved to the position during the spring. He’s one of four lineman starters returning from last season, and maybe the most versatile.
After a period of adjustment, Dunn said: “I feel like I’m settled in at left tackle. At first I was a little bit worried going from the right side to the left side. This summer I was just working on all my steps … by the time I got to camp I felt really comfortable being on the left side.” Dunn said. “You could do hours of footwork every day over the summer … you gotta be focused in when you’re going against somebody. If you’re not focused in, you may as well revert back to horrible technique.”
Dunn and the rest of the offensive lineman are past the midway point of camp, with plenty of movement still possible on the depth chart. Maryland Coach Randy Edsall had senior Jake Wheeler listed as Dunn’s backup at left tackle entering camp, and moved prized freshman Damian Prince from left tackle to left guard earlier this week. Edsall called Dunn a “great story” on Thursday morning, noting the Bethesda native’s local background and how he earned a scholarship after his freshman season.
“Honestly, I can’t really explain it. It’s crazy just to think about two-and-a-half years ago I was just a walk on, coming in here, I didn’t think I was going to play until my senior year, if that,” Dunn said. “We’re still competing, we’re still working, but at this point being the starting left tackle for a Big Ten team, it’s a crazy feeling.”