Maryland’s Veii is ready for his return engagement
and his new/old teammates.
It also required financial help as well. Veii had to show Durkin he was willing to put in the work, which meant paying his own way for the first semester. Veii got some of the money from his aunt, Angela Brathwaite, and the rest through a loan his father, Kazuvire Veii, took out. The elder Veii teaches psychology at the University of Namibia in West Africa.
Veii realized how fortunate he had been to have a scholarship.
“It definitely made me think about all that stuff,” Veii said. “My family doesn’t come from money and it was a struggle. It definitely made me think about what I had to do [to earn his scholarship].”
Durkin smiled when asked whether Veii’s second chance at Maryland was unique.
“Unique is a definitely a good word for it,” Durkin said. “We have high expectations [for Veii]. You look at practices last year, he stood out. He’s a guy who certainly could have helped us a bunch last year, obviously. Really fast, dynamic speed, competitive, works hard. He’s all the things you want.”
Veii also showed that in flashes his first two years. After playing more as a running back his freshman year, picking up 146 yards on 39 carries, Veii played more as a receiver in 2014 as a backup to Stefon Diggs, finishing with 16 catches for 230 yards. He also rushed 19 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Having lost Levern Jacobs and Teldrick Morgan, who as seniors last season were the team’s second- and third-leading receivers, respectively, the Terps are clearly in need of new targets for whoever winds up following Perry Hills at quarterback.
Veii is competing with Jacobs’ younger brother, Taivon, a senior who missed last season with a knee injury, and sophomore D.J. Turner. There will be more competition coming this summer from a number of freshmen, including four-star prospects Tahj Capehart and Sean Nelson.
Unlike when he was being shuttled back and forth between running back and wide receiver, Veii knows that Durkin and Bell plan to use him strictly in the slot.
“It just gives me stability and consistency, especially in my workouts and what I’ve got to work on, instead of having [to] split time and having to do running back workouts and doing wide receiver workouts because I didn’t know what I was going to be doing,” Veii said.
Veii, who led Towson in receiving with 44 catches for 505 yards in 2015, hopes to get a chance to follow Diggs into the NFL someday. But first he must make the best of his second chance with the Terps.
Like a long-distance traveler at the end of a journey, Veii is a bit famished.
“Anytime you come from not playing for a whole year, it’s like you’re a shark smelling blood in the water. You want to eat,” Veii said. “I’m hungry and I want to eat.”
Coach DJ Durkin has high hopes for slot receiver Jacquille Veii. “Really fast, dynamic speed, competitive, works hard. He’s all the things you want,” Durkin said.