There were plenty of reasons why Maryland went 8-4 and finished second in the ACC Atlantic Division just one season after finishing 2-10.
The emergence of quarterback Danny O'Brien belongs near the top of the list.
O'Brien took over as Maryland's starting quarterback in the fourth game of the season and threw 21 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. He has thrown for 2,257 yards, the sixth-highest total of any freshman quarterback in ACC history. He is four touchdown passes away from matching the ACC freshman record set by N.C. State's Philip Rivers in 2000.
All those accomplishments make O'Brien the easy choice as the Rivals.com ACC freshman of the year. The ACC defensive freshman of the year is Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, whose development helped give the Seminoles one of the nation's most improved defenses.
Rather then bypass some deserving candidates, we decided not to necessarily be position-specific (i.e., guards, tackles, ends, free safeties, etc.) on our all-freshman teams along the lines and in the secondary.