During the first two weeks of training camp, Terrapins football coaches were trying to find ways to get Levern Jacobs involved in the offense and take advantage of the wide receiver’s exceptional speed.
This week, though, coaches haven’t had to try very hard to do that. As fellow wide receivers Deon Long and Amba Etta sit out with back and shoulder injuries, respectively, Jacobs has moved up to take snaps with the first team offense at practice.
But while the Temple Hills native finds himself in a new spot on the depth chart, his greatest strength on the field hasn’t changed.
“I think I fit in good, I’ve kind of stepped up pretty well,” Jacobs said. “My speed gives me the edge over a lot defenders.”
Coach Randy Edsall said he hopes Long and his backup, Etta, will be healthy in time to play in the season opener against Florida International on Aug. 31. If those two do return, it will likely push Jacobs out of a starting spot, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get his chance to make an impact on the game.
Edsall routinely includes Jacobs when talking about the team’s top wide outs, and the sophomore’s speed makes him a potent deep threat.
Last season, Jacobs played limited time in 11 games and had seven catches for 50 yards. With that year of experience under his belt, Jacobs now feels he’s ready to assume a bigger offensive burden.
“My confidence has gone up from the opportunities I’ve gotten in camp,” Jacobs said. “I have the chance to show the coaches what I can do.”
Of course, if Long and Etta remain sidelined, Jacobs will be thrust into a larger role than even he expected. And teammate Stefon Diggs doesn’t think that should be a problem.
Diggs, the receivers’ representative on the Terps leadership council, is plenty confident in Jacobs and the rest of the Terps’ reserve wideouts.
“It’s a next-man game,” Diggs said. “Not having [Long and Etta] just means everybody has to step their game up a little more.”
Jacobs added, “We have some good backups. I’m sure until they do come back, us receivers will hold it down for them.”
Jacobs has a plan to make up for the loss of Etta and Long, too.
“I just got to show off my speed,” he said.