Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley took the podium at Big Ten media day and provided a major update: wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. could be available for the season opener.
Demus, who suffered a gruesome tear of his ACL during a kickoff return last October against Iowa, then injured his foot during offseason workouts, has been rehabbing from surgery and his progress has been encouraging, according to Locksley. He specifically noted that Demus has been hitting 21-22 miles per hour in sprints, meaning his explosiveness and speed are getting back up to par with his natural ability. For much of the offseason, sources said Demus wasn’t likely to be available until several weeks into the season or longer.
“Dontay Demus is ahead of schedule,” Locksley said. “Really, really been impressed with the way he’s returned. Our training staff has done a great job getting Dontay back…he’s got that explosiveness back. We do expect him – barring any setbacks in training camp – to be back for the opening game.”
Maryland hosts Buffalo on Sept. 3 to start the 2022 campaign, and if Demus plays it would mark 11 months from surgery to a return for the star wideout, regarded as one of the nation’s top receivers.
Demus has been a key figure for the Maryland offense over his career. He emerged with 41 catches for 625 yards and six touchdowns during his sophomore season in 2019 and followed that up with 24 catches for 365 yards and four touchdowns in five games during a shortened COVID season in 2020. In 2021, Demus tallied 28 catches for 507 yards and three touchdowns in just four games and one quarter against Iowa. He increased his yards per catch from 15.2 over the two seasons prior to 18.1 as a junior and easily proved to be an NFL prospect along with his 6-foot-4, 215-pound stature.
He led the Big Ten in receiving yards at the time of his injury. As he was carted off the field following his injury, he mouthed, “I’m coming back” to his teammates.
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Maryland football’s offense in 2022 is set up to allow for Demus not to be rushed back from his injury. Along with a strong offensive line fully returning, running backs gaining experience and star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa returning, the Terps welcome back a highly regarded core of receivers in Rakim Jarrett, Jeshaun Jones, Florida transfer Jacob Copeland, Tai Felton and more in addition to Demus .
The Terps, who were selected to finish fifth in the Big Ten East Division this week by conference media members, will start training camp on August 3, according to Locksley.