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Just a goal-line specialist his redshirt freshman campaign, D.J. Adams is expected to make a gigantic leap in year no. 2, providing the thunder in Randy Edsall's duel-threat backfield in 2011.
It may have taken awhile before the Maryland coaching staff figured out how to utilize Adams' skill set effectively last year, but when they finally developed packages for him he was one of the most consistent offensive performers.
Early in the season, Adams finally had a platform to display his talents getting clean-up duties as the Terrapins held a comfortable 45-point advantage over Morgan State. Adams racked up 70 yards on 11 touches, including a 23-yard burst for a touchdown, his second of the game. Adams finished as the team's leading rusher that afternoon.
Adams' effort against the Bears resembled what the coaching staff saw while he starred in the Norcross High School (GA) backfield. A three-star back, Adams drew praise for his ability to accelerate immediately and use his immense power to break tackles. In his junior and senior seasons combined, he totaled 3,046 yards and 25 touchdowns – 14 his last year, which earned him an Honorable Mention 5A All-State RB.
Although Adams showed flashes of promise in the team's second game he rarely saw the field until homecoming, when once again he received 16 carries, resulting in an 84-yard performance. Adams averaged more than five yards per touch, but more importantly he proved that he belonged to be a part of an already-crowded backfield, providing that necessary punch by the goal line.
""We're going to continue to allow [Adams] to be our short-yardage and goal-line back," Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin said in a meeting with reporters in early November following his impressive game against Wake Forest.
"Every game he has gotten in he has run the ball extremely well. All of the offensive coaches really believe he can do something," then head coach Ralph Friedgen added. "We're going to try and put a package together for [Adams]," Friedgen said. "We want to get him in the game. In this type of game I think it could be good; it's going to be a very physical game."
Adams did not appear in the ensuing game against Miami, but did get a handful of carries for the final four games of the season. Against Virginia, Florida State, North Carolina State and East Carolina, Adams ran for 83 yards and eight scores, including four in the 51-20 Military Bowl victory.
When it was all said and done, Adam's 11 rushing touchdowns was second in the Atlantic Coast Conference to Virginia's Keith Kayne, and marked a new freshman record at Maryland.
With Da'Rel Scott having graduated, Meggett will ultimately receive the bulk of the carries for the Terrapins in the upcoming season. However, the team is noticeably thin at the running back position; Gary Douglas has transferred from the school after Edsall expected him to be contributor this year, the third-string back Jeremiah Wilson is a redshirt freshman and Kwabena Ofori and Desmond Haynes – fourth and fifth on their depth chart, respectively – are converted defensive backs.
With the blueprint left behind by Friedgen and Franklin, it will not be a question of how the team plans to use Adams, but how heavy a load will the bruiser share with his senior counterpart.