The majority of Mike Madaras' young life has been spent preparing to become a Division I offensive lineman.
The Good Counsel tackle's father played on the O-line, and coached his son to play the position in youth football. There were never any illusions in Madaras' mind of being anything other than a lineman.
"His dad did a nice job getting him ready," said Falcons offensive line coach Tom Crowell. "He was schooled in the wing-T blocking. So as a young kid, he came in very excited about being a lineman and we just built from there. He had the size. He had the whole [package]. We just had to bring it all out in him."
Crowell got started early, making Madaras his starting right tackle as a freshman. He was switched to left tackle as a sophomore and never relinquished that spot. Along the way, the Maryland commitment became one of the most highly touted linemen in the country. Never was that more evident than his senior season with Good Counsel.
"This year he had matured and helped others and basically just dominated every opponent he played," Crowell said. "He always got better each year. Better and bigger. He was basically the anchor of our line."
Madaras and Ryan Watson, a four-star defensive end, were the Falcons' only returning starters on the O-line. Crowell broke in a first-year starting senior at right guard and sophomores at center and left guard. Good Counsel typically ran behind Madaras' side, and the 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior served as a mentor for the less experienced Falcons linemen. His finest moments, according to Crowell, came against Delaware powerhouse Red Lion and Manatee of Bradenton, Fla.
"Mike seems to step up big in the biggest games," Crowell said. "One of the coaches at Maryland mentioned to me that he saw tape from Red Lion and was just amazed by some of the things he was doing. … Without Mike, we couldn't have done half the stuff we did. I've been a line coach since 1972. If you don't have tackles, you don't have anything. He's a great one. I think he might be the best tackle I've ever coached."
Good Counsel, which finished the season 12-0 and won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship, is known for producing multiple DI players each year. The Falcons' offensive system, Crowell said, is good preparation for playing college football. Crowell said GC runs a "hybrid" offense that is mostly pro-style and has "a foundation of wing-T blocking" but also features elements of zone blocking.
"To be very honest with you, every kid that comes back [from college], we'll pull them aside and say, 'Well, were you ready?'" Crowell said. "Every kid is appreciative of everything we do. Our system [gets players] ready to play at the next level. We run and throw. We don't have a whole lot of gimmicks. We pass block in the traditional ways. We run block."
Madaras, according to Crowell, can do it all. The Good Counsel offensive line coach called the future Terp "a great player" and "an even better person." While it's extremely rare for a true freshman to be a factor on a college offensive line, Crowell believes that Madaras could be the exception to that rule.
"I have no doubt in my mind," Crowell said. "The only thing that would hurt Mike on the next level, it's a faster game, much quicker, but I have no doubt he could start at Maryland next year. He needs to get a little bigger, a little stronger, but as far as being ready to play. I think Mike's one of those rare guys that could step in. I really believe that."