I hope UGA has an all you can eat training table, cause if I get stuck behind Ben and Sam there won't be anything left. #LetTheBigDawgsEat— Jacob Eason™ (@skinnyqb10) January 26, 2015
The 'Dawgs picked up a (literally) huge commitment on Sunday with the pledge of New Jersey offensive tackle Sam Madden. The four star standout had been committed to Wisconsin until, as his father put it, the Badgers' staff lied to the family about Madden's prospects fro admission in Madison.
Prior to selecting the Badgers (and eventually the Bulldogs), Madden had a solid list of suitors. Schools which had offered him included Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona State, Miami, and Virginia Tech and West Virginia. In short, Madden is that rare player with offers from at least one school in every one of the Power 5 conferences.
And with good reason. There are very few people walking around with the size required to play left tackle for a big time college football program. Sam Madden is one of them. Take a look at his junior highlights below.
Let's start with the good. Kid is huge. Madden is currently listed at 6'7 and 345 pounds. In a way it's difficult to evaluate him because he's just such an elephant knocking over ant hills in this film. As Bear Bryant once noted about a pesky Auburn team built on speed, and his plans for stopping it with power football, "Quick guys get tired. Big guys don't shrink." Madden is the sort of big guy who's tough to push backward and takes three days to run around.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, though. I wouldn't mind seeing him commit to the weight room and training table so he could play in the 330 pound range. I haven't seen Madden in person yet, but on film and in pictures he looks like a kid who really likes to eat, a little soggy around the middle. He also doesn't have the ideal body type to add good weight, with (relatively) narrow shoulders, and an average lower body build. Madden can't help his genetics, but how he contends with the proximity of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to campus will have something to do with how successful he is in college.
His height is also a little bit of an issue, as he struggles at times to play with a low pad level. That's not a problem with 190 pound high schoolers who he simply engulfs. With guys like Trenton Thompson, defensive linemen who can get into his pads and play with good leverage, it could become a real problem. There are also some stance issues here and there throughout the film. Because this isn't an every play issue, I tend to chalk it up to conditioning. A lot of linemen get lazy in their stances as they get more winded, and this impression is bolstered by the fact that Madden's sloppy stance plays are also usually the plays on which he doesn't move his feet particularly well.
Madden looks like a tackle to me, especially given his height. I'm not 100% certain that he has the footwork required to play left tackle, but again, if he develops the right way physically, the blind side spot is a possibility. Either way I wouldn't expect to see him on the field in 2015. Georgia returns both starting tackles John Theus and Kolton Houston, plus promising underclassmen Dyshon Sims and Kendall Baker. But Madden has the kind of size you can't teach, and shows just enough flashes on the above film to make you think he could be something special. Until later . . .