COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The No. 1 priority for coach Randy Edsall in Maryland’s second season in the Big Ten is to decide who will be his starting quarterback.
He has a trio of options.
Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman and returning backups Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills are vying to start the Sept. 5 opener against Richmond.
“That’s going to be an interesting battle. Daxx and Caleb and Perry, they’re going to fight it out,” Edsall said at media day Monday. “We’ll see how it all unfolds. They’re all eager, they’re all hungry and they all want to be the guy.”
Rowe and Hills both got their opportunity to play at Maryland following injuries to starter C.J. Brown, who used up his eligibility last December after six years at Maryland.
Rowe, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior who played at Blue Ridge High in Greer before signing with the Terrapins, has played in 13 games and has three career starts. He participated in four games last season, all of them off the bench. His career numbers: 1,768 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
At Blue Ridge, Rowe passed for 78 touchdowns and more than 7,600 yards, leading the Tigers into the Class AAA playoffs as a senior, when he was selected for the Shrine Bowl all-star game.
What Rowe lacks in experience at Maryland, he makes up in confidence.
“I’ve learned a lot from C.J.,” Rowe said. “Being the guy is going to be a lot of fun.”
Garman, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, has the edge in experience. He started eight games for the Cowboys last year, throwing for 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Edsall made no promises to Garman during the recruiting process, except to assure him he would be considered for the starting job.
“I came here to compete for the job and that’s what I’m looking to do,” said Garman, who got his chance to shine at OSU after starter J.W. Walsh was injured.
Hills started four games as a freshman in 2012 and hasn’t started since. He took a redshirt in 2013 before appearing in three games last season, completing half his 10 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Now a junior, Hills is delighted to be part of the mix in a duel that just might endure until the end of August.
“We’re teammates before anything else,” Hills said. “We’re friends on and off the field. It being a competition, all of us will give 100 percent to try to win the job. But it’s not going to become hostile.”