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Maryland QB competition offers coach Randy Edsall trio of options in team's 2nd Big Ten season

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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — The No. 1 priority for coach Randy Edsall in Maryland's second season in the Big Ten is to decide who will be his starting quarterback.

He has a trio of options.

Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman and returning backups Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills are vying to start the Sept. 5 opener against Richmond.

"That's going to be an interesting battle. Daxx and Caleb and Perry, they're going to fight it out," Edsall said at media day Monday. "We'll see how it all unfolds. They're all eager, they're all hungry and they all want to be the guy."

Garman, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, has the edge in experience. He started eight games for the Cowboys last year, throwing for 2,041 yards and 12 touchdowns.

He didn't come to Maryland to be a backup, but understands that the starting role won't be handed to him.

"I came here to compete for the job and that's what I'm looking to do," said Garman, who got his chance to shine at OSU after starter J.W. Walsh was injured.

Garman could have picked a school that would have offered to make him a starter. Instead, the Oklahoma native chose Maryland.

"I feel like Maryland's on the rise, joining the Big Ten," Garman said. "It's a great environment, and the coaches here are incredible. I really enjoy being around them and learning."

Edsall made no promises to Garman during the recruiting process, except to assure him he would be considered for the starting job.

"As a coach, it's my job is to strengthen and develop our roster to give us the best opportunity to win," Esdall said. "I didn't bring anybody in here to be an insurance policy. We bring people in here because we feel they can help us compete and win in the Big Ten."

Garman is a pro-style quarterback whose strength is his arm, not his legs.

"I would prefer to drop back. That's my style," he said. "But if I have to run, I can."

Rowe and Hills both got their opportunity to play at Maryland following injuries to starter C.J. Brown, who finally used up his eligibility last December after the last of his six years at Maryland.

Rowe, a 6-1, 220-pound senior, has played in 13 games and has three career starts. He participated in four games last season, all of them off the bench. His career numbers: 1,768 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

What Rowe lacks in experience, he makes up in confidence.

"I've learned a lot from C.J.," Rowe said. "Being the guy is going to be a lot of fun."

Hills started four games as a freshman in 2012 and hasn't started since. The 6-2, 210-pound Pittsburgh native took a redshirt in 2013 before appearing in three games last season, completing half his 10 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Now a junior, Hills is delighted to be part of the mix in a duel that just might endure until the end of August.

"We're teammates before anything else," Hills said. "We're friends on and off the field. It being a competition, all of us will give 100 percent to try to win the job. But it's not going to become hostile."

Notes: Edsall said OL Derwin Gray and TE Andrew Isaacs would see limited action during practice. Also, freshman DL Adam McLean will be out while recovering from a torn ACL in high school. The coach said all the players are academically eligible.

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