Maryland took a significant step forward in 2021. After back-to-back losing seasons in Mike Locksley’s first two years in College Park, the Terrapins were able to squeak into a bowl game and throttled Virginia Tech to finish above .500.

It was exactly the kind of momentum the program needed.

A good portion of Maryland’s success should be credited to the offense, especially the passing attack. The Terrapins were able to move the ball through the air for a good chunk of the season thanks to talent at the skill positions and improvement along the offensive line.

Defensively, though, the Terps still need some work.

As Maryland prepares to build on the success it enjoyed in 2021, let’s take a look at the 5 candidates who could be the face of the program for the 2022 season:

QB Taulia Tagovailoa

After the season he had in 2021, it’s going to be difficult for another Terrapin to dethrone Tagovailoa as the face of the program. He threw for 3,860 yards and 26 touchdowns with 11 interceptions — but 5 those came in a disastrous outing against Iowa early in the season. He was actually much better at protecting the football than the numbers indicate. Because of the number of weapons in the receiving corps (we’ll talk about that shortly), Tagovailoa has the ability to prove himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the B1G in 2022. He’s capable of making every throw on the field, can use his legs to keep plays alive and is a good decision-maker. Maryland’s offensive success in the fall is going to be dependent on Tagovailoa’s success under center.

WR Rakim Jarrett

When multiple Maryland receivers suffered injuries last season, Jarrett stepped up in a big way. The sophomore ended the year as the team’s leader in receptions, yardage and tied in touchdown receptions. Jarrett hauled in 62 receptions for 829 yards and 5 touchdowns. He showed nice burst and has shown the ability to be a short-range pass-catcher or a deep threat in the Terrapins offense. 247Sports ranked him as a 5-star prospect for a reason, right? Jarrett’s 2021 campaign was the best from any Maryland receiver since DJ Moore had over 1,000 yards in 2017. If Jarrett is as reliable as he was last fall, he’s got a great chance to become the next 1,000-yard receiver for the Terrapins and one of the best players in the B1G.

WR Dontay Demus Jr.

Demus was the leading receiver for the Terrapins in back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2020 and could very easily re-establish himself as the No. 1 target for Tagovailoa again in 2022. The question about the veteran receiver is how much last season’s injury affects his ability to impact a game. If he’s at 100%, Demus could easily be the team’s top receiver and the face of the program for the 2022 season. Even if he’s not the first option, he’ll still have a significant role in the offense. Over the last four years, Demus has tallied up 1,775 yards and 13 touchdowns on 106 catches, posting an impressive 16.7 yards per catch average. Can the Terrapins count on him to return to the field as the player he was before suffering the season-ending injury last fall?

CB Tarheeb Still

Did we see a spark of Still’s potential in the Pinstripe Bowl win over Virginia Tech? He returned a punt for a touchdown in that game after struggling to gain much traction as a return man all throughout the year. If he can add that element to his game for the upcoming season, Still is going to be a really dynamic player. On the defensive side, Still did a little bit of everything. He racked up 55 tackles, broke up 11 passes, recovered a pair of fumbles and blocked a kick. Talk about being all over the field. Maryland’s defense struggled last year, but Still was one of the bright spots.

LB Ruben Hyppolite II

Want an underdog candidate to become the face of the program in 2022? Hyppolite is an incredibly talented linebacker and is capable of doing a lot of good things on the defensive side of the football. But, again, Maryland needs to make significant strides at every position group. Hyppolite could become a leader for the defense after getting 62 tackles a year ago. He probably needs to get into the backfield a little more frequently next season and cause more disruption in the run game — something he’s more than capable of accomplishing.