"I couldn't make it out there," Mike Madaras
said of Stanford
's Junior Weekend, last Friday and Saturday. "It's really hard to get out there. Plane tickets are what, $700 to get out there? It'd probably be a good official to get out there, if it comes to (Stanford) being a school I'm interested in."
Like many of the recruits who visited Stanford last weekend, Madaras is one of those top-100 caliber players in the 2012 class who is picking up offers so quickly right now that the recruiting sites, try as we might, simply can't keep up. Rivals has Madaras at 12 offers – Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland and NC State from the ACC, Pitt, Rutgers and West Virginia from the Big East, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten, Ohio and Central Florida from the same time zone, and, from the other side of the Rockies, your Stanford Cardinal. Scout has Madaras at 11, having not yet received word of Rutgers' offer.
Madaras, however, reports he received four offers neither site had heard of – in the same day. Makes you wonder just how many schools have offered the junior, and just how many will between now and next February.
"Ever since signing day for the class above me, it's been crazy," he said. "I'm starting to get a lot of offers. I got four in the same day the other day: Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Michigan and Virginia.
"Again, I'm interested in any school and really happy that I'm in this position, and grateful I am. Not many kids get to go through this."
[Ed: Madaras' newfound popularity is reflective of a larger trend. It appears that the Cardinal are offering a good number of high-profile players early as they have in years past under Jim Harbaugh, and like under Harbaugh, are yielding returns on those investments, with players like Aziz Shittu, Byron Marshall, Freddie Tagaloa, Bryce Treggs and Taylor McNamara all visiting for Junior Day, and all blowing up into four/five-star recruits, based on their early offers. However, as all these players do shoot up the charts, it also appears that Stanford has done a better job of targeting its early offers than in recent years, when some of the earliest offers did not end up among Stanford's most highly-touted signees, let alone in the class at all. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but perhaps an 11-1 2011 will help Stanford have its cake and eat it too – still aggressively offer top talent early in hopes of turning lots of those players red and white, but also be more precise with those offers to avoid situations, all too common recently, in which the recruit's interest in Stanford wanes, or vice versa.]
As Madaras nears the 20-offer mark, he understandably wants to take his time in winnowing the list down to one.
"Nothing really jumps out at me," he says of his suitors. "I want to lay back, wait for my options and be open before I start narrowing down. I don't want to heavily look at one school and then have other schools not offer me because they don't think I'd be interested.
"Right now, I'm playing basketball, so after basketball season is when I'm going to visit the schools that I can and try to get out to look at as many schools as I possibly can. I'll try to narrow down before the summer's over, so my focus next year can be on my team."
As much as The Bootleg would love to choose a recruit put the hat routine to shame and choose one school out of 20 via roulette, or perhaps the Powerball, Madaras' future is on the line, and he hopes to make a more thoughtful decision accordingly.
Will distance then be a key factor in his decision? Bad news if so for Stanford, still the only one of his offers west of Mississippi.
"It's something I think about," Madaras admits. "It would be nice to go to a place near home. But in the end, it's not the biggest deal."
Where instead will Madaras expend most of decision-making energy?
"Academics, probably," he said. "Once I'm done with football, I can use the education I got at school for something useful.
"Stanford's a really good school," he said. "I've talked to them a little bit. I get letters and the usual stuff. Because they're not really allowed to talk to me yet, they talk through a coach at my school."
Any other factors for Madaras?
"Really, I want to be able to play on a team where we're winning games and have a shot at the national title," he said. "That'd be really fun."
Finishing in the top-five in last year's postseason AP Poll and US News & World Report rankings alike, Stanford looks to be in a strong position if Madaras is picking a school based upon academics and football quality. Obviously, as will be the case for many of these early, highly-sought 2012 recruits, this upcoming 2011 season will be key for the Cardinal. Coach Shaw and his program can only improve their odds with Madaras if they can show come September that 2010 was no a fluke.
Enough about whether or not Madaras wants Stanford though. Why should Stanford want him?
My strengths are having good footwork for a big guy," he said. "I'm also pretty strong for being kind of lanky, so when I fill out, I'll be really good."
Conversely, how is Madaras looking to improve his game?
"I'm working on bulking up," he confessed. "I've got to gain a little weight before I'm big enough to play at the college level, so I can be as strong as I can be. I'm at 6'6", 285 now that I've gained a little bit of weight. In high school, you run a lot, but in college obviously that's different, so I'm also working on getting good at pass blocking. That's the main thing I'm working on right now, plus getting in really good shape."
Seeing those strengths and weaknesses, colleges largely agree on where they project Madaras, a current two-way player.
"I play defense," he said of his high school ball, "it's just that I guess I'm better at offense," he said. "A couple of schools talk about me playing D, but mostly it's all offense."
It's not just at any offensive line position that schools are recruiting Madaras either, but at the most exclusive position of the bunch.
"All the colleges are mainly recruiting me as a tackle, currently a left tackle," he said. "As long as I'm playing I'm happy though. That's all I want to do."
Madaras will try to narrow down his list by summer's end to the schools he'll officially visit come fall, all the better to focus on his senior season of football. In the meanwhile, stay tuned to The Bootleg for all the latest on Madaras and the rest of Stanford's 2012 recruiting class.
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He may not have an email address, but schools have had no trouble tracking him down. Maryland OT Mike Madaras has offers from schools up and down the East Coast – and one from the Left Coast too. Read on!