COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -Jeremy Navarre has enjoyed a wonderful career as a defensive lineman at Maryland, starting 44 games over four years and playing in two memorable bowl games.
If all goes as planned, the best is yet to come.
The Terrapins are on the brink of earning a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. If they win that one, Navarre will cap his run at Maryland by playing in the Orange Bowl.
``That's the motivation right there,'' Navarre said Tuesday. ``Go out with a bang and on top.''
Thanks in large part to Navarre, who has a career-high 52 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks, the Terrapins control their own fate in the Atlantic Division. With wins over Florida State this Saturday night and Boston College next week, Maryland is assured of advancing to the ACC title game for the first time.
And, if Wake Forest beats Boston College on Saturday and the Terrapins dispose of FSU, the Terrapins are in.
Friedgen said.
As a high school senior, Navarre narrowed his scholarship choices to Penn State and Maryland. Looking back, he's confident he made the right choice.
``Penn State is having a good year, but the experience I've had here and the group of guys I've met, I wouldn't trade it,'' he said. ``I have no regrets. You can look at the success of other schools you could have gone to, but I feel I had the best experience at Maryland.''
When Navarre walks onto the field Saturday for Senior Night with his mother, father and sister, he will no doubt look back with pride at a four-year run in which he served as a force on the field and a leader in the locker room.
T Bank Stadium and now it's down to this last game,'' he said. ``During the time it seems slow, but looking back on it, seems like it went by very fast.''
Navarre was recruited as a fullback, but it didn't take long for Friedgen to realize the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder would be better suited making tackles than trying to avoid them.
Navarre will play in his 47th game at Maryland on Saturday night. Along the way, he's made 165 tackles, 11 1/2 sacks and dozens of friends for a lifetime. His no-nonsense attitude also earned him the devotion of his teammates.
``Coming into the season he was looked at as one of the leaders on defense, and throughout the season he showed that,'' senior linebacker Moise Fokou said. ``He stepped his game up, especially in the tackling aspect. He plays hard, gives a lot of effort. He's a guy I think we couldn't do without. The guys respect him.''
So does Navarre's coach.
``He's a consistent player that competes every play. Practice, games it doesn't matter,'' Friedgen said. ``I'm hoping he'll have a further career in the NFL.''
Navarre will graduate in December with a degree in kinesiology, but if he has his way, it will be a few years before he begins to use that degree.
``I'm hoping to keep playing football at the next level,'' he said. ``I'm not the most athletic person, but hopefully the hard work will help me carry it over to the NFL.''
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