Jackson Stands Tall For Terrapins
Maryland's defense has been stellar since Ralph Friedgen assembled his coaching staff in College Park. Even last year, when the Terrapins went 5-6 they had one of the ACC's top defenses. Over the last two seasons, the Terrapins defense has suffered losses that eventually catch up to you.
Two seasons ago, Maryland sent Randy Starks, EJ Henderson, and Madieu Williams to the NFL. Last season, Dominque Foxworth and Shawn Merriman were drafted. Now, the star power falls to senior linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson is counted upon to be the heart and soul of Maryland's defense. It is role he has no problem taking on.
Jackson had 18 tackles in the win over Navy last weekend. Jackson is relied so heavily to make plays, he is the odds on favorite to lead the ACC in tackles this year. The Terrapins are inexperienced all over on defense. The defensive line suffered a big blow, when highly touted incoming freshman Melvin Alaeze was not academically eligible. Jackson himself suffered personal setbacks this fall, when he had to return home to Florida and handle a death in the family. With the odds against him, Jackson has performed at a very high level.
What makes Jackson so dangerous is very similar to Leroy Hill. No matter where the play is or how he is accounted for Jackson is going to be in on the play. When Maryland needed the big play against Navy, it was Jackson that delivered. Four his 18 stops came on third downs.
If Clemson's now found running game is to be successful on Saturday, Jackson will have to be accounted for on every play.