Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Already in the Fold, Part 2

A.J. Maddox looks to get back on the field in 2010 (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

What if I told you Columbia had a talented safety with the coverage skills to help replace Andy Shalbrack and the blistering speed and good kick returning skills to help replace Austin Knowlin?

You'd be excited right?

Well, we have just such a person, and it's not an incoming freshman. It's rising junior A.J. Maddox, who missed all of 2009 due to injury after a promising 2008 season. It does appear that he is 100% recovered and faster than ever.

Maddox could very well be the fastest of all the Lions and that will come in handy as Columbia works to replace Knowlin as the lead kickoff and punt returner.

With the crowded and deep secondary, (three of four starters returning), Maddox may have a better chance of starting with the special teams. But don't sleep on his abilities as a strong safety as he did rack up 16 tackles in his freshman year of 2008. He also played in all 10 games as a freshman, which is always impressive.

Could Maddox expand his role and appear on the offensive side of the ball? That's up to the coaches, but Maddox intrigues me as a possible dangerous weapon in the "scatback" type of role like Dave Meggett was years ago as a receiver for the Giants and Patriots. (Of course, I refer solely to Meggett's abilities on the field, not his personal and legal issues!).

But any way you slice it, the "x" in "Maddox" stands for the big X-factor A.J. is when you predict how the Lions will fare in 2010. If he can make the kind of impact on kick returns he's capable of, and help the defense, Columbia's opponents better not forget to factor a response to A.J. Maddox this season.


At Wed Apr 07, 05:32:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Maddox seems a little small for safety at 5'9" 175 but I could see him winning a job at corner. If we continue with a lot of option offense I could see him helping out there much as A.K. did in the Brown game.

At Wed Apr 07, 05:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best safety in the NFL is 5'8" and 200. Bob Sanders, of course.

At Thu Apr 08, 05:44:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

It's not the height,but 5'8" 200 is quite a bit more stout than 5'9" 175. And Sanders has had much trouble staying healthy the last 2 seasons playing so physical.

At Thu Apr 08, 12:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He'll play cornerback like he did two years ago. That's his most natural position.

At Sun Apr 11, 06:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually he's 5'9" and 191 and is a great player on both sides of the ball...his drive for the game sets him apart from the typical stereostypes you are trying to place him in

At Mon Apr 12, 07:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's true that he's 191 then he really bulked up...okay, that could change things. I didn't care for his style as a kick-returner (too many mincing steps at the start of each return, but that can improve, I guess, and may not apply to a position in the backfield). With his speed it would be terrific of course if he's a "great player on both sides of the ball," as you say, but I think we have lots of good ones on offense now.


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