Confidence, dedication will earn Madden playing time

Sam Madden is no stranger to strength and conditioning. He has worked out under the guidance of a trainer since eighth grade. (AJC/Chip Towers)

Sam Madden is no stranger to strength and conditioning. He has worked out under the guidance of a trainer since eighth grade. (AJC/Chip Towers)

ATHENS — The second in our “Next Generation” series about Georgia’s incoming freshmen is on Sam Madden. The stories are running online today and will be included in tomorrow’s print edition of the newspaper as well.

The first in the series was on linebacker Roquan Smith and ran last week. There was a blog on Smith as well.

As part of this package, I’ve been asked to include what I think the prospects are for the various subjects I am profiling. I’ll go back and revisit that next week on Roquan Smith. As for Madden …

The thing that is most inescapable about Madden is his size. The man is huge. He entered UGA at 6-foot-6, 330-pounds. And by all accounts he is extremely strong. He’s a self-professed gym rat who has been working with personal trainers since he was in the eighth grade.

Madden’s biggest obstacle at the beginning is going to be Georgia’s depth chart. As has been well-documented, the Bulldogs return four starters on the offensive line and are pretty well set on the other position. Sophomore Isaiah Wynn will likely be the fifth starter, whether it’s at center or guard. Junior Brandon Kublanow, who started all 13 games at left guard last season, could slide over to play center.

But three of those other four starters are seniors, including left tackle John Theus and right tackle Kolton Houston. And there are increasingly strong indications that next season could be the last for right guard Greg Pyke. His NFL draft potential could be too rich to ignore.

So that means there will be ample opportunity for Madden and all of Georgia’s other linemen next season. And depth is already a concern. Sophomore Josh Cardiello and freshman DeVondre Seymour have left the program recently, leaving the Bulldogs with 13 linemen overall.

So Madden figures to be in the mix pretty quickly, as well as fellow freshmen Pat Allen of Reistertown, Md., and Sage Hardin of Atlanta. There will be a lot of playing time on the line as they compete with redshirt freshmen Kendall Baker and Jake Edwards and sophomores Aulden Bynum and Dyshon Sims over the next couple of years.

On film, Madden doesn’t appear to be super quick. But he’s a real road-grader in run-blocking. That’s one of the reasons Wisconsin loved him. His cousin, John Moffitt, was named All-American as a guard for the Badgers in 2010.

And you’ve got to say this about Madden: He doesn’t lack confidence.

“(Offensive line coach Rob) Sale just told me to come in the best shape I could,” Madden said. “He said he didn’t care if I was a freshman or not, at the end of the day the best five linemen were going to start. Obviously, there’s a lot of guys to beat out. But I don’t care if he’s a junior or senior, I’m trying to take his job.”

And get a load of this comment from Madden when I asked him if he dreamed of playing college football one day:

“Playing college football was never really a fantasy for me. It wasn’t like I grew up thinking, ‘I wish I could do that.’ I remember one of my coaches, Uriah McClain, from where I originally trained at. He always brings up that when I was in the 8th grade and I was meeting him the first day and he asked me, ‘What’s your name?’ Sam Madden. ‘What do you want to do?’ NFL. I was 13 or 14 then. I was 6-2 or 6-3. So it was always, like, ‘I’m not going to try to do it, I’m going to do it.’ It’s not like I wish I could do it. That that don’t mean a thing. It’s just a matter of doing the work.”

Madden is rooming with Allen his first year at Georgia. Madden and his father went up to Maryland earlier this spring and went to dinner with Allen and hung out. The duo plans on making an impact with the Bulldogs.

“Obviously we both want to earn starting jobs the first year,” Madden said. “I fully intend on winning a starting spot and beating out whoever I have to and doing whatever I have to do.  If that doesn’t happen there are a lot more things to do.”

So do I think he’ll eventually contribute? You better believe it.

UGA NEXT GENERATION SERIES:

 

 


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