During the Clemson game, Demetrius Hartsfield, the least-heralded of the Terps’ linebackers, quietly began to rack up tackle after tackle. And I thought to myself, nice I’m gonna write down his name and post about him dude you are such a keen observer of the game I can’t believe it you’re so smart. But then, Demetrius kind of outkicked the coverage on me; his performance went from quietly strong to loudly strong. Like deafening.
The final stat line for this Raleigh, N.C. product (he turned down Duke to come to Maryland…yay, f*ck Duke!) includes 10 tackles (eight of them solo and 2.5 of them for a loss), one sack, one fumble recovered. And as the game approached its finale, he only got bigger: four of his tackles came in the final quarter. And of course, it all culminated when Hartsfield, with 27 seconds left, sacked Clemson QB Kyle Parker, forcing and then recovering a fumble to seal the victory.
The accolades have been pouring in, and rightly so. He’s the first defensive player this season to be named ACC Rookie of the Week. No one less than Lou Holtz gave Hartsfield a “helmet sticker” during ESPN’s college football show. It’s all well-deserved, but what about me? I was ready to tout the untouted guy. It’s just bad luck, is what it is.
I always figured Alex Wujciak would emerge as this year’s top dog and/or Next Great Maryland Linebacker, and if not him, then Adrien Moten probably had the next-best shot. And don’t get me wrong…Wujciak is a warrior. All accounts are that he hobbles around like Earl Campbell during the week but always brings it on game days. You can’t knock a guy like that. But the unit needed more than just a stopper — they needed a game changer. And on Saturday, that’s what they got — literally — from Demetrius Hartsfield. We’ll see if he can keep it rolling against Wake.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)