Maryland running back Wes Brown suspended for season

It’s a big season for Maryland coach Randy Edsall as the Terps have underperformed in his two seasons at the school, and he wasn’t a popular hire to begin with. The pressure is on to show improvement this year before Maryland heads to the Big Ten for 2014. However, Edsall one have one of the main keys of his offense as running back Wes Brown has been suspended for the entire 2013 season.

Late last week prosecutors dropped charges against Brown from an incident last month with University of Maryland police. Still, the university’s judicial system delivered the suspension for a violation of the student code of conduct. Brown accepted the suspension, but his attorney told The Washington Post that if Brown meets certain benchmarks provided by the university, the suspension could be shortened. Regardless, Brown will miss the upcoming season.

Brown, a rising sophomore, was charged with felony wiretapping, second-degree assault and theft of less than $1,000 stemming from a July 3 incident with University of Maryland police and a Baltimore city police detective. Brown was being questioned as a “person of interest” connected with a non-fatal shooting in June outside a Baltimore nightclub. The suspension is related entirely to the July 3 incident.

Brown declined to pursue the matter through the university’s legal system, which would have included either appearing before a judicial council of his peers or one administrator. He also could have appealed the decision had it gone against him. But an initial hearing would not have taken place until late August. By that time, even if Brown had been cleared, he would have been forced to miss Maryland’s season opener against Florida International on Aug. 31 after sitting out spring and summer training camps, and likely would not have returned to the practice field until Labor Day.

As a true freshman, Brown rushed for 382 yards — second on the team — and two touchdowns last season, but battled an ankle injury and missed the final three games. He sat out this spring after undergoing shoulder surgery. It is possible that Brown will attempt to redshirt the 2013 season, leaving him three years of eligibility when he rejoins the team.

Maryland opened as a 20-point WagerWeb favorite for its opener against FIU. The battle to start at running back is now a two-man race between Brandon Ross and Albert Reid. Ross and Reid experienced somewhat opposite seasons in 2012. As a true freshman, Reid began the season as a starter against William & Mary but eventually became a sparsely used short-yardage back, finishing with just 2.6 yards per carry on 36 attempts. Ross, on the other hand, was hampered by a nagging hamstring injury that kept him effectively neutralized eight games into the season. He burst into the picture with two 100-yard games over the final three weeks — 100 yards against Clemson and 141 against North Carolina — and carried that success into the spring.

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