(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article discussing some of the top attack units coming into the 2021 college lacrosse season. Penn State was the only Big Ten team that made the list. However, that was before yesterday’s news that Jared Bernhardt would be returning for a fifth season at Maryland. Now, the Terrapins are solidly on that list.
Since the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to spring sport athletes last spring, the Lake Brantley, Fla., product has had a decision to make. That decision: go play football at DII Ferris State, which will be playing in the spring, or come back for an extra season of lacrosse at Maryland. Ultimately, Bernhardt choose to come back for final season with the Terrapins.
With Bernhard back, this Maryland team is even more loaded than initially thought. Of course, Maryland was looked at as the favorite in the Big Ten prior to the news of Bernhardt’s return, but without him there certainly would have been a bit more questions on the offensive end. Bernhardt coming back eliminates all those questions that may have been asked or discussed amongst lacrosse circles about this Maryland offense over the summer and fall.
A three-time All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection, Bernhardt is the best and most impactful player on this Terrapins’ offense. And his return alone puts this offense and attack line at the top of the list, as far as the Big Ten is concerned.
Serving as the QB of this offense, Bernhardt finished the shortened 2020 season with 29 points (20G/9A). He finished second on the team in both goals and points, sitting only behind midfielder Logan Wisnauskas (24G/12A).
In addition to returning those two, as well as attackmen Anthony DeMaio (10G/11A) and Daniel Maltz (12G/6A), the Terrapins landed a pair of grad transfers on the offensive end of the field in former Colgate attackman Griffin Brown and former Hobart attackman Eric Holden.
Holden ended his career at Hobart as the program’s fourth-leading goal scorer and point-getter in the DI era, recording 150 points (97G/53A), which included 20 goals and eight points to lead the Statesmen in scoring last season. Brown was Colgate’s leading scorer last season with 26 points (21G/5A). The addition to both only elevates this Maryland offense, and now with Bernhardt playing alongside them, the ceiling has been elevated even higher.
Not only will Bernhardt’s return have a profound impact on the returning players and transfers this season, but having him around should benefit some of the young studs that this squad has on that end of the field. Maryland brought in two highly touted freshman attackmen in Eric Malver out of Woodward Academy, Ga., and Daniel Kelly, who flipped late in the process from North Carolina, from Calvert Hall, Md. Having the chance to sit behind and learn from a player as decorated and experienced as Bernhardt will be huge for the development of both star freshman.
And while they could very well get bumped up to midfield, just as Bernhardt did as a freshman sitting behind Matt Rambo, the experience they will get this season will only help them when it is their time to step up and take the reigns of this Maryland offense.