East Lansing, MI
As the 2016 Spartans go marching for back to back Big Ten titles, the talk nationally is of the Spartans best WR freshman class in history. Don’t misunderstand, that group is amazing and deserves the love and attention. Just don’t overlook one a senior with great talent and ability.
Monty Madaris was rated as a top 25 wide out in the nation coming out of high school with offers from around the nation. With Madaris hailing from Cincinnati, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio was able to tap his connections having been a coach there to get the commit from the talented youngster.
Dantonio reflected on Madaris and how his career has progressed earlier this week. “He's stayed the course. I was talking to our football team, You got to stay healthy in fall camp, especially as a freshman. I think he got hurt on his second or third day with an ankle, he was out for six weeks or something like that. His freshman year went bust right there. If you can't stay healthy as a freshman, you can't learn. Then the next step is very difficult to go.”
For Madaris he has been snake bit by the injury bug. Dantonio elaborated, “He's gotten hurt a little bit. He's played behind some very talented players. He made some plays last year. He has great ability, big guy, extremely fast. Done a nice job of catching the ball down the field. Right now he's our starter. I think he'll have a great year.”
For Madaris there isn’t a need to panic. MSU has had some players who struggled, who parlayed a big senior year into a successful NFL career. Dantonio equated one to Madaris.
“We had that happen with Bennie Fowler. I think he's comparable with Bennie Fowler in a lot of ways, speed, size, what he's been able to accomplish here. Bennie had a huge senior year, had been hurt a couple times early in his year. I think Monty had that issue as well, maybe two different times.”
Madaris may have limited stats, but they are impressive nonetheless. He has seven career catches for 103 yards. That is an impressive 14.7 average per catch. One catch last year in particular sticks out in my head that showcases the young man’s ability.
Against Purdue there was 3:27 on the clock in the first quarter. The Spartans had the ball at their own 35 facing a second down and eight. MSU had the 7-0 lead. Madaris ran a gorgeous post route, out maneuvering the CB and getting to the middle of the field. The play went for 34 down the middle and with no safety, had Cook not thrown a poor pass it would have been a touchdown. In fact Madaris showed some great athletic ability the way he went down and made the catch compensating for Cook’s poor throw. A good pass would have been a touchdown easily.
For a highly touted player, it would be 100% fair to say that Madaris has not seen his career unfold the way he wished. Is he bitter and angry? No way. He is still a terrific team player who is content bragging about his teammates, even as he enters his final season. “Our receiver group is a good group of guys. We are all together and that has been our whole thing since my freshman year. The chemistry in our room is really great.”
That one quote tells you everything you need to know about Madaris. The young wide receivers on this team deserve all the attention they are getting, but don’t count Madaris out. He was coveted for good reason and the Pride of Cincinnati is healthy and ready to go from showing flashes of talent to putting it on full display.