Offensive tackle Mike Madaras came to Maryland two years ago from Good Counsel as one of Randy Edsall’s first big-name recruits.
On Tuesday, he abruptly left the Terps and the university.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound sophomore — the first true freshman Edsall could recall starting as a head coach — announced through an athletic department release that he was quitting the team.
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Calling it a “difficult decision,” Madaras said that after speaking with his family, he came to the realization that “my heart is not in the game of football or going to college at this time.”
Madaras, who had started all eight games for the Terps this season after playing in all 12 and starting eight as a freshman, went on to say that “I did not think it was fair to my teammates to be out there playing when I didn’t share their passion for the game.”
Edsall, who was on the road recruiting, said in a statement that he had met with Madaras and that the player “expressed his desire to no longer be a student-athlete at the University of Maryland. We wish him the best and are here to support him any way we can in the future.”
Madaras, of Olney, was a four-star prospect coming out of high school, and his departure further depletes a Maryland offense ravaged by injuries.
Dave Madaras, who coached his son in youth football and later served as a volunteer coach at Good Counsel, traces his son’s disillusionment about college football to a two-week suspension in the summer for what the father called “bad behavior.”
“That might have been the beginning of it,” Dave Madaras said. “The bad behavior was an indication that something was wrong. I think he was saying, ‘I’m trying to send a signal. I’m struggling a little bit.’ It’s tough with a dad like me. I coached him a long time, and I’m sure it was tough for him to tell me he didn’t want to play football.”
The elder Madaras wouldn't comment further on the suspension, which was announced as a violation of student-athlete conduct code. The only infraction in the conduct code that carries a two-week suspension is a second failed drug test.
Mike Madaras did not return telephone calls from The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.
When he returned from the suspension early in preseason camp, Madaras was asked whether he had learned from his mistake.
“Most definitely,” he said at the time. “That two-week suspension, wasn’t happy when it was happening, but looking back on it, I really do think it was a good thing. It put a perspective on things. I really think it put me back on track.”
But Madaras struggled on the field this season.
After not putting on any extra weight following his freshman year, Madaras often was pushed around by stronger players and beaten by quicker ones, making it difficult for him to protect the quarterbacks playing behind him or open holes for Maryland’s running backs.
Edsall will have some decisions to make about Madaras’ replacement when the Terps return from their bye week and get ready to face Syracuse on Nov. 9. With a victory at Byrd Stadium that day, Maryland (5-3, 1-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) has a chance to become bowl-eligible for the first time under Edsall.
The latest depth chart released listed Jake Wheeler, a 6-7, 305-pound junior from Hollywood, Fla., as No. 2 behind Madaras at left tackle. It is also possible for Edsall to move Moise Larose, a 6-6, 305-pound freshman from Odenton (Wilde Lake) over from backup right tackle.
Madaras said in his statement that “I appreciate all the support from Coach Edsall and the rest of the Maryland football coaches and support staff. I will be rooting for them in the future.”
Dave Madaras said he supports his son’s decision, but he declined to comment on the timing of it eight games into the season.
“He’s not happy being at Maryland,” he said. “It’s nothing against the team or the coaches, he just wants to figure out what he wants to do with his life.”