Maryland’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects led by WRs Rakim Jarrett, Dontay Demus

We know Maryland stars Taulia Tagovailoa and Rakim Jarrett have their sights set on the 2023 NFL Draft, but who else is there to know?

The Maryland Terrapins cracked the .500 mark in 2021 and ended up winning their bowl game in spectacular fashion. Mike Locksley’s program might just be trending up. If they want that to continue, they’ll need help from their prospective 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Here’s who might go on to form that group for the Terrapins after the 2022 season.

Maryland prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

There are several Maryland prospects who have more name recognition than most — among them Taulia Tagovailoa, Rakim Jarrett, and Jaelyn Duncan. But elsewhere on the offense and even on the defensive side of the ball, Maryland has other players — both steady veterans and breakout candidates — who could add to the class’ depth.

Taulia Tagovailoa, QB

After a 2021 campaign that saw him complete 69.2% of his passes for 3,860 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, Tagovailoa is starting to make an imprint on the 2023 NFL Draft conversation. He still has a ways to go before he’s a legitimate prospect. The field vision and decision-making, in particular, fluctuate too often at the moment. But Tagovailoa does have the requisite athleticism and arm talent to potentially supplement more growth in 2022.

Challen Faamatau, RB

Having lost Tayon Davis-Fleet, the Terrapins will look for someone else to step up in the RB room in 2022. There are a few names in the conversation, but senior Challen Faamatau might be in line to have the most responsibility — provided that he’s fully healthy by August. Faamatau is a former walk-on but earned his scholarship last summer and delivered on that decision by accounting for 316 total yards and three scores. Standing at 5’11”, 225 pounds, Faamatau has great size, and his versatility makes him an asset for Locksley.

Rakim Jarrett, WR

It feels like draft evaluators have just been waiting for Jarrett to become eligible. Now, ahead of the 2022 season, he officially is. A true junior, Jarrett is coming off a strong sophomore campaign that saw him bring in 62 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns. He may be a bit smaller than his listed 6’0″, 190-pound frame. But he makes a big impact week in and week out with his explosiveness, run-after-catch ability, and eye-catching hip sink on cuts. A good season could potentially catapult Jarrett into the early-round range.

Dontay Demus Jr., WR

Dontay Demus Jr. was in the midst of a breakout season when he tore his ACL just five games through the 2021 campaign. To that point, Demus had amassed 28 catches for 507 yards and three scores, and he’d shown no signs of slowing down. Even after his injury, Demus wasn’t fazed, proclaiming, “I’m coming back.” Now, the 6’4″, 215-pound receiver is well on his way to doing so. If he can get back to 100%, Demus has the size, speed, and explosiveness to be a coveted X receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle.

Jacob Copeland, WR

Jarrett and Demus will likely be the most popular Maryland receivers heading into the 2022 season, but don’t sleep on Florida transfer Jacob Copeland. Copeland was a highly-rated recruit several years ago. Out of high school, he had a 4.44 40-yard dash and a 37.4″ vertical jump. And now, at 6’0″, 202 pounds, he’s retained all of that athleticism within a dense, compact frame. With explosiveness, contact balance, and vertical ability, Copeland has all of the necessary traits to be a dynamic weapon.

Jaelyn Duncan, OT

At times in 2021, Jaelyn Duncan was discussed as a potential 2022 NFL Draft prospect. Rather than declaring without the guarantee of being drafted, however, Duncan returned for his redshirt senior season to try and end on a high note. Duncan stands at 6’6″, 320 pounds, with impressive frame proportions and athleticism on tape. Timing and hand placement remain areas of improvement even heading into his fifth season. But if Duncan can put it together, he could rise in an unsettled tackle class.

Spencer Anderson, OT

Interestingly, Duncan isn’t the only offensive tackle on Maryland’s roster worth watching in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. There’s also Spencer Anderson — a mammoth 6’5″, 330-pound blocker who started last season at right tackle. With his sheer size and length, Anderson is an imposing matchup for edge rushers. But he’s also shown he can get out in space and match with his athleticism. If he can keep working on regulating his pad level, he could be a breakout player.

Greg Rose, DT

Losing Sam Okuayinonu will certainly have an impact on the Maryland defense. However, one player who could be in line to help fill the void is Greg Rose. Rose was around 270 pounds during the 2021 season, but he’s now listed at 6’2″, 295 pounds. On the outside, he showed off impressive lateral agility. That’s something he may be able to bring to the interior and use as a mismatch tool. Last year, Rose accounted for five sacks and 5 1/2 tackles for loss. He’ll no doubt be looking to up those numbers in 2022.

Mosiah Nasili-Kite, DT

Ever since he came to Maryland in 2020 from Independence CC, Mosiah Nasili-Kite has been a consistent disruptor on the defensive line. In 2020, he put up five tackles for loss and four sacks. In 2021, he matched that sack total and added seven more tackles for loss. For his 6’2″, 310-pound frame, Nasili-Kite shows off impressive acceleration off the line. His arms are short, and he could stand to gain more functional strength at the point of attack. But Nasili-Kite may have a future in the league.

Ami Finau, DT

Okuayinonu was one of the Terrapins’ most disruptive defensive linemen in 2021. But at times, his success was better enabled by the presence of nose tackle Ami Finau alongside him. Now, Finau returns as the 6’2″, 320-pound anchor at the center of the defensive line. There’s room for him to be more consistent, but his size and natural leverage can be difficult for interior linemen to deal with.

Durell Nchami, EDGE

Durell Nchami was quietly on pace to be one of the more productive edge rushers in the Big Ten last year before an injury cut his season short. Now, however, Nchami is on track to be fully healthy ahead of 2022. And in the coming campaign, the 6’4″, 255-pound defender is a surefire breakout candidate. He has a strong frame and good burst off the line, but Nchami’s bend is something he can truly build his game around. His ankle flexion is rare, and it could present a danger for tackles once again in 2022.

Ruben Hyppolite II, LB

Ruben Hyppolite II is the Terrapins’ leading returning tackler. He was third on the team behind safeties Nick Cross and Jordan Mosley with 62 last year. He also added two pass deflections and a forced fumble to that total. Hyppolite remains an unquestioned starter for Maryland at the second level, and 2022 will be a great opportunity for the 6’0″, 230-pound defender to make a name for himself.

Gereme Spraggins, LB

Now a senior, Gereme Spraggins logged a few starts late in the 2021 season. Standing at 6’3″, 250 pounds, he brings impressive size to the linebacker position. That said, playing a lighter weight might help him glean more functional athleticism. Whatever the case, Spraggins could be a name to watch. Wearing the No. 21 jersey in honor of Sean Taylor, he brings fitting physicality to the tackle point.

Vandarius Cowan, LB

It remains unclear what kind of role Vandarius Cowan will have, but the 6’4″, 240-pound senior linebacker is, at the very least, a name to watch. Cowan was originally an Alabama commit coming out of high school, boasting impressive 4.65 speed for his size. Unfortunately, things haven’t gelled for Cowan. He transferred to West Virginia just a year into his collegiate career and now finds himself at Maryland after playing as a reserve for the Mountaineers in 2021. He has the tools, but there’s work to do.

Jakorian Bennett, CB

There isn’t a lot of buzz around Jakorian Bennett as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. But at the very least, he’s a deep sleeper who may need more hype than he currently has. Bennett helped lock down one side of the defense for the Terrapins in 2021, tallying three interceptions and 11 pass deflections in 11 games. Bennett, a JUCO product, is physical, has the burst to carry receivers off the line, and, most importantly, has the high-level ball-tracking ability to convert at the catch point.

Deonte Banks, CB

We didn’t see much of Deonte Banks last year, as the redshirt junior suffered a season-ending injury after just two games. But now, he’s healthy, and he’s been bestowed the No. 3 jersey that belonged to Cross in 2021. Listed at 6’2″, 205 pounds, with his athletic traits, Banks may be relied upon more in the secondary as a fourth-year player. And if his 99-yard return TD in the spring game is any indication, he may be used more on special teams as well.

Isaiah Hazel, S

The Terrapins lost both starting safeties from 2021 to the 2022 NFL Draft. Cross was drafted on Day 2 by the Indianapolis Colts, while Mosley signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. Their departures leave a void but also an opportunity for someone else to step up. That player might be Isaiah Hazel, a senior safety who stands at 6’1″, 205 pounds. He got a few looks as a subpackage defender last year and flashed, but 2022 could help expand his reach.

Chad Ryland, K

While it’s not the flashy addition, Chad Ryland is a great get for Maryland. Last year’s kicker, Joseph Petrino, was just 13 of 20 on his field-goal attempts. Ryland, meanwhile, sustained success for four seasons at Eastern Michigan before transferring to Maryland. Last year was his best season yet, nailing all 47 PATs and connecting on 19 of 22 field goals (several over 50 yards). He’s improved every year, and a good showing at Maryland could put Ryland in the 2023 NFL Draft conversation.

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