MnB B1G Preview: Three key players for Maryland football

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

In continuance of our Big Ten preview, we take a look at the three key players for Maryland football this upcoming season.

Ah, Maryland.

The new addition to the Big Ten brings forward a unique challenge for other coaches in the conference. A break from the mundane and scheming for a team it hasn't seen before. With the transition out of the ACC complete, the Terrapins are hoping to make some noise during their first year at their new home. Finishing with only seven wins next season, the schedule is set up for another difficult year.

In order for the Terps to break free, they will need to rely on these three key players in 2014.

Andre Monroe - Defensive End

A fearsome presence on the defensive line, senior Andre Monroe is someone that will require special attention from the offensive lineman. In 2013, he made getting to the quarterback a habit. Finishing with nine-and-a-half sacks and also recorded 17 tackles for loss.

With Monroe coming back for one last shot at redeeming the Terps, Big Ten offensive coordinators around the conference will have to pay special attention to him during film sessions.

Below is a presser with Monroe after their bowl loss to Marshall last season.

Stefon Diggs - Wide Receiver

Although the statistics from 2013 may not show it, but having Stefon Diggs back is a huge victory for the Terps. Diggs was arguably one of the more electrifying players in college football before missing the majority of 2013 to a broken fibula. A five-star recruit coming out of high school, it was apparent he was living up to the hype in his home-state school.

Now, with a healthy leg and ready to go, having Diggs come back close to early-2013 form is crucial for having a successful offense. Now, the receiving corps did fine in his absence, but having a playmaker like that on offense is a nice piece to have. Speaking of playmakers, the Terps also have another five-star receiver that was lost to injury last season. Deon Long will be back to return for his senior season as well.

C.J. Brown - Quarterback

Senior C.J. Brown is back with Maryland for his sixth season on campus after receiving a waiver from the NCAA due to injuries suffered last season (it is a recurring theme here.) However, there is no mistaking the importance of having Brown back to run the zone-read at Maryland. The offense thrives or dies with him.

Although 2013 wasn't the best year statistically, Brown is the clear leader of the offense. He finished with over 2200 yards passing, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is also considered a running threat as well, rushing for over 500 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. With the injury bug perhaps leaving town, 2014 may see a considerable statistical rise for Brown.

He is someone that will need extra attention any time he drops back to pass.

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