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COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland head coach Randy Edsall was texting with one of his former standout cornerbacks, Dexter McDougle, on Sunday night.
McDougle, selected in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft by the New York Jets, tore his ACL earlier in the day during a training camp practice with the team in Cortland, N.Y.
“You’ve been through this before,” Edsall recalled telling McDougle in those messages, now speaking on Monday at Maryland football’s media day in College Park. “You know the kind of attitude that you have to have to come back stronger.”
“I just feel so bad for him,” Edsall told the media. “Because I know he was playing well and he was doing a good job.”
McDougle appeared in only three games for Maryland in 2013 before his college career was ended by injury in Week 3 against Connecticut. While making an open-field tackle, McDougle's shoulder collided awkwardly with an opponent, fracturing his shoulder blade.
He remained with the team during his recovery and the program's march to the Military Bowl. Come the spring, he participated in front of NFL scouts at the team's pro day in his first live, public action since undergoing surgery to repair the injury.
While at Maryland's pro day, he posted a 37-inch vertical leap and a 40-yard dash that ranged from 4.47 to 4.53.
He was the only Maryland Terrapin taken in this year's NFL Draft. He signed a rookie contract with the team in June.
On Monday, Edsall credited McDougle’s leadership for the lasting culture of Maryland’s defensive backfield, despite the fact that has graduated.
“I would probably say that they’re our tightest group on the team. Those guys, you go by that film room, those guys are in there watching a ton of film,” he said. “They spend time together. They enjoy each other. I think a lot of that is because, you know, of Dexter.”
Maryland opens its season on Aug. 30 against James Madison.