The 6-foot-3, 235-pound athlete made a stop in Knoxville on Friday for a private workout and meetings with coaches. The day ended with an offer from Tennessee.
“Today was great. I really liked the facilities and the coaches. They had so much energy,” Madden told Volquest Friday night. “After the short workout, they offered me. I am very blessed and grateful. And I really loved the campus. It was a great overall experience.
“Tennessee said they liked my film and were impressed with how well I move for my size. Coach [Mike] Ekeler said he was happy to offer me.”
The Ellenwood, Ga. native would play on the outside in this Tennessee defense – moving around at the ‘JACK,’ or newly termed ‘LEO’ position. Like current Vol Tyler Baron, Madden would line up in multiple spots, rush the passer, drop into coverage and stack behind the line of scrimmage in this system.
The prospect also displays some pretty good speed, clocking a 4.71-second 40-yard dash.
“I really don’t have a lot of film,” Madden said. “I wasn’t able to play last season because I transferred into Cedar Grove and I missed half of my sophomore season due to injury. Once I got out there to camp this summer and coaches began to see what I could do, the offers started rolling in.”
The offer count sits at 15 with Tennessee, Missouri, Oregon and FAU offering in July. The former Colorado commit picked up offers from Georgia, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Washington State, MTSU, Liberty, Western Kentucky, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Akron earlier in June.
A three-star, Madden also has some experience on the offensive side of the football, repping at tight end and as a ‘wing-back’ in the option-offense. The new Tennessee target could possibly take some more visits when things open back up, but plans on announcing his commitment on September 18.
“I’m going to drop my top-five on my birthday, August 5,” Madden concluded. “Tennessee is in a good spot.
“Tennessee is a place I could see myself going – wearing orange and making plays. Today was a great visit. Coach [Josh] Heupel was great. I can tell he is a really cool guy.” - VQ
Tennessee is a school that has come on strong with Madden. The Volunteers offered him on July 30 and were then included in the top five less than a week later.
Georgia has received several visits from Madden this summer. His most recent came last Saturday for the Bulldogs' cookout recruiting event.
"It was a real fun day, really different from any other day we’ve been out there," Madden said. "Usually, it’s just a whole lot of football, working out, sweat, but it was a real fun day. It was a lot of fun with recruits and things like that."
Madden said he's never experienced a day like that at a school. Instead of the usual workouts and campus tours, he competed and finished second in a slip-and-slide race on a team with his potential future defensive coordinator, Dan Lanning.
The fun of that day, and the bonds it helped strengthen with the coaches, is part of the reason Georgia cracked Madden's top schools. His relationship with Kirby Smart played a role as well.
The pair talk "here and there." Smart texted Madden before his senior season began with a scrimmage Friday night against Buford.
"He’s a cool guy, just good all-around coach," Madden said. "We’ve got a good relationship."
Madden's stat line in the quasi-season opener included a handful of tackles along with an interception. While being recruited by colleges as an edge rusher, he's playing mainly inside linebacker this year for Cedar Grove.
While he likely won't play inside in college, there are plenty of skills Madden can hone now to use at his future school.
"I would definitely say just reading my keys, reading the guards, reading the quarterback, reading the eyes, dropping into zone, things like that," Madden said.
Madden is currently aiming for sometime in mid-September to publicly announce his commitment. He also hopes to take in games at his top five schools.