The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday. McFarland, who went 124th overall, was the first Maryland player selected. Terrapins safety Antoine Brooks Jr. was also chosen by the Steelers in the sixth round with the 198th pick. The two will rejoin former Terrapins interim coach Matt Canada, who is the Steelers’ quarterbacks coach.

McFarland played at Maryland for two seasons, breaking the school’s freshman record with 1,034 rushing yards in 2018 and then recording 614 yards as a sophomore. McFarland appeared in 11 of 12 games last season but played through an ankle injury that kept him from improving on his redshirt freshman campaign. He added 126 yards on 17 receptions last season in Coach Michael Locksley’s offense.

McFarland averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2018 and 5.4 yards per attempt in 2019. The 5-foot-9 former DeMatha standout frequently burst past defenders for large gains. When Maryland nearly upset Ohio State in 2018, McFarland torched the Buckeyes for 298 rushing yards, including a school-record 231 in the first half. After his freshman season, McFarland earned all-Big Ten honors, with the media selecting him for the second team and the coaches choosing him for the third team.

McFarland has “probably one of the more unique combinations of speed and quickness that I have seen in a long time with the football in his hands,” offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery said last fall.

Brooks was a starter for three seasons. As a senior, he led the Terps with 87 tackles and was second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss. After last season, he was selected the team’s MVP, its defensive player of the year and one of three captains. Brooks also garnered all-conference honors, with the coaches naming him to the second team and the media choosing him for the third team.

Brooks finished his Maryland career with four interceptions, including the game-sealing pick late in the fourth quarter when the Terps upset Texas in 2018. Brooks had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2017, when he ranked second on the team with 77 tackles with a team-high 9.5 for a loss. The year before, he only appeared in six games, primarily on special teams.

At DuVal High, Brooks played quarterback and defensive back. As a senior, he suffered a compound fracture in his ankle and a broken wrist when he was hit while scrambling during a game. His recruitment process slowed, but Brooks eventually landed at Maryland.

McFarland, Brooks and running back Javon Leake represented Maryland at this year’s NFL combine. A handful of other Terps navigated the process without the typical scouting opportunities after the novel coronavirus pandemic prompted mass cancellations across the country.

The Terps had players selected in the first round in the previous two drafts — wide receiver DJ Moore to Carolina in 2018 and defensive back Darnell Savage Jr. to Green Bay in 2019 — but the first Maryland player this year came on the draft’s third day.

The players who finished their Maryland careers last fall played under three head coaches: first DJ Durkin, who was placed on administrative leave and then fired in October 2018; then Canada, who led the team as the interim coach for the entire 2018 season; and then Locksley in 2019.

“This is a great time of the year, and for these players that are involved with the draft, it’s kind of like Christmas in April for them,” Locksley said Wednesday. “These guys are about to embark on the next stage of their careers and their lives, and hopefully have the ability to change the lineages of their families with being drafted and picked.”

Maryland players signed as undrafted free agents

Running back Javon Leake is expected to sign with the New York Giants, ESPN reported. Leake, the Terrapins’ leading rusher last season, had a standout junior campaign with 736 rushing yards and two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. Leake averaged 7.2 yards per carry last season. He was named the Big Ten’s return specialist of the year and finished the season ranked third in the country with 804 kick return yards.

Defensive back Tino Ellis signed with the New Orleans Saints, he announced on Twitter. Ellis’s senior season was cut short because of an upper-body injury, but he played nearly every game in the previous three seasons. Ellis finished his Maryland career with 71 total tackles and one interception.

Tight end Tyler Mabry signed with the Seattle Seahawks, he announced on Twitter. Mabry transferred to Maryland from Buffalo, where he tallied 567 receiving yards through three seasons. With the Terps, Mabry caught 13 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. He was one of four Maryland players to start in all 12 games.

Linebacker Keandre Jones signed with the Chicago Bears, he announced on Instagram. Jones transferred to Maryland after three seasons at Ohio State, where he primarily played on special teams. He became one of the Terps’ most important defenders, finishing the season with 74 tackles and seven sacks. Jones was voted as one of the team’s three captains at the end of the season.

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