Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:20 AM
Published on: Friday, November 02, 2012
By Brandy L. Simms
When the Maryland football team hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday at Byrd Stadium, the Terrapins will be breaking in their fourth quarterback this year.
In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt High graduate Shawn Petty will become the sixth player to start at quarterback in a Maryland uniform since last season.
A year ago, Maryland’s quarterback situation appeared to be in solid footing with Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown sharing the duties, but things have changed drastically in the past 12 months.
After O’Brien transferred to Wisconsin earlier this year, Brown emerged as the team’s starting signal-caller. However, Perry Hills began the season as Maryland’s starting quarterback after Brown suffered an ACL tear in the preseason.
Hills started Maryland’s first seven games before suffering an ACL tear in the first half of the Terrapins’ 20-18 loss to N.C. State on Oct. 20. He was replaced by Devin Burns who played two quarters before Caleb Rowe led the Terrapins on a potential game-winning drive.
Burns suffered a Lisfranc (foot) injury against N.C. State and was lost for the season. Rowe started last week’s Boston College game but suffered a torn ACL against the Eagles and became Maryland’s fourth quarterback lost to injury including the third signal-caller diagnosed with an ACL tear.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, and the severity of the injuries,” said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. “I’d have to think back through the years, where someone might be down to a fourth guy in a position for a week or two, but I’ve never seen that many season-ending injuries. You see that kid in the Boston College game get hit, and you wonder because it was a pretty good shot, but then he came back in so I would’ve had no idea he tore his ACL. The kid has got to be pretty tough.”
Maryland has been playing through adversity for much of the season, so Saturday’s game will not be any different. Petty promptly made the switch from linebacker to quarterback and began learning the Maryland offense a couple weeks ago.
As a high school senior last year, Petty led the Greenbelt public school to a perfect 10-0 mark during the regular season before the Raiders where ousted by Flowers in a first round playoff game.
Petty, a two-way starter who toiled at quarterback and linebacker for the Raiders, passed for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 550 yards and 10 touchdowns. He registered 51 tackles, five sacks and forced three fumbles on defense.
Eleanor Roosevelt coaches contend that Petty will be prepared when he lines up under center against Georgia Tech.
“He’s a very big kid,” said Eleanor Roosevelt assistant Randolph Warren. “We ran a spread option offense at Eleanor Roosevelt. He’s familiar with reading the defense.”
Warren noted that high school teams would underestimate Petty’s speed. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound standout was a dual-threat quarterback at Eleanor Roosevelt. He was also a three-year starter.
“His speed is surprising,” recalled Warren, a special teams coordinator. “Once he’s out there running against other players, he did run through some tackles and was unstoppable.”