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Terps QB shuffle: Jackson opts out, Tagovailoa granted immediate eligibility

Maryland opens unique preseason training camp
Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 07, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Day No. 1 of Maryland Terrapins football training camp 2020 is all about who is back and who is not. Last year’s starting quarterback, senior Josh Jackson, is among a handful of players opting out of the season.

"Josh Jackson has probably played his last football," said Terps Head Coach Mike Locksley. "Proud of him being able to make a tough decision."

Other players joining Jackson in opting out of the season include starting offensive linemen Johnny Jordan and Austin Fontaine, defensive lineman Jalen Alexander, defensive back Vincent Flythe and linebacker TJ Kautai.

Locksley said he supports each individual player's decision to opt out during this unique season.

Tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo is being held out of the season becasue of a medical condition.

Leading the quarterback room now is redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre and sophomore Taulia Tagovailoa. The younger brother of Dolphins quarterback Tua transferred from Alabama to Maryland. Late Friday afternoon the NCAA granted Tagovailoa immediate eligibility to play this season.

"He has that infectious personality that players gravitate to him," said Locksley of Tagovailoa.

"Taulia has tremendous, tremendous hands in the R.P.O. (run-pass-option) world and great vision, great leadership ability," said Terps Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery.

Tagovailoa is one of 56 new players on the Terps. Different faces are going through a different sort of camp. Everything is affected by COVID-19 precautions.

"Every member of the team, on the field or on the sideline, must have some type of facial covering," said Locksley. "We have to go in the locker room in shifts."

Staff and players are taking it upon themselves to be safe away from the field as well. They are staying in a hotel during training camp.

"Ultimately there’s responsibility on our end, as players, to be able to live right off the field and protect ourselves off the field so we don’t bring the disease into our facility," said senior running back Jake Funk.

"Our players are well aware, and we’ve preached from day one, that if one fail we all fail," added Locksley.

Before camp started Locksley made headlines leading the newly formed National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. It is an effort to toward fair and equitable hiring at all levels of football.

"It’s time for me to pay forward the opportunities that I’ve been presented," he said. "I wanted to use some of the experiences I’ve gone through and some of the people that have helped me get through them, to create this organization."

Locksley and the Terps begin their all-Big Ten schedule on Saturday, September 5 at Iowa.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook