Maryland Football: Will Likely ready to take the next step

Will Likely has had quite the career at Maryland, but it certainly didn’t end the way he wanted it.

On Tuesday, Likely was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place from Feb. 28 to March 6 in Indianapolis.

Likely suffered a torn ACL while fielding a punt against Minnesota back on Oct. 15. He is currently rehabbing his knee at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, Ariz, which is run by Arizona Cardinals physical therapist Brett Fischer.

Likely’s agent Todd Wiestling, who played at Maryland from 1989 to 1992, told Don Markus of The Baltimore Sun that he is “way ahead of schedule.” The Belle Glade, Fla. native has a full range of motion in the injured knee.

It’s unclear what kind of drills Likely will be able to participate in at the Combine if any. Likely should be ready for Maryland’s Pro Day, which will take place in late March or early April.

Likely accumulated 229 tackles (174 solo), 29 defended passes, seven interceptions, and five forced fumbles during his time in College Park. He had six interceptions during the 2014 campaign.

Likely is the sole owner of four records with the program. Those include single-season interception return yards (170), interceptions returned for touchdown (two, 2014), single-game kickoff return yards (228, Michigan State, 2014), and single-game punt return yards (233, Richmond, 2015).

It’s unclear where exactly Likely could go in the 2017 NFL Draft. That is all going to depend on what NFL scouts see from him at the Combine and his Pro Day.

If teams feel that the knee will heal or is almost healed, Likely could go in the first five rounds. NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. had previously pegged Likely to go in that range if he was healthy.

Based on his ability as a return man alone, Likely is worth a fourth or fifth round draft choice. With the ball in his hands, there’s few players that are more dangerous in the open field than Likely.

He also projects to be a slot cornerback and certainly has the physical tools to be a very good one despite being undersized.

After the Combine wraps up, Likely will have a much better idea of where he will go in the Draft. He definitely has the potential to make an NFL franchise that takes him very happy in the coming years.

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