COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Former Maryland standout defensive back and return specialist William Likely III has signed a rookie free agent contract with the New England Patriots, the team announced on Monday.
Likely joins former teammates Alvin Hill (Cleveland Browns) and Levern Jacobs (Washington Redskins) as Terps that have signed with NFL teams since the NFL Draft.
Likely, who had his senior season cut short due to injury, was named a Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) First Team All-American in 2015. He also garnered Second Team All-America accolades from USA Today. Likely ranked third nationally with 1,197 combined return yards in 11 games during his junior campaign.
The Belle Glade, Florida native was also named First Team All-Big Ten as a defensive back for the second straight year and was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year in 2015.
Likely owns or shares six different Maryland records and he broke a 76-year-old Big Ten record with 233 punt return yards in the Terps’ season-opening win against Richmond in 2015. Likely finished his junior season with three return touchdowns, including two punts and one kickoff. His kickoff return touchdown was a 100-yard run back at Iowa. It marked the second 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Likely’s career.
Likely ended his Terrapin career ranking second all-time at Maryland with 2,233 kickoff return yards, only trailing Torrey Smith. His four career punt return touchdowns also ranks second at Maryland. Likely’s two interception returns for touchdowns is tied for the most in Maryland history and his 170 yards after interception in 2014 is the most ever for a Terp.