Avonte Maddox was one of the earlier recruits Pitt secured this season, landing him back in June. At the time, we mentioned that he was a pretty solid baseball player (he even sounds like he'd like to play in college along with football), too, but Maddox also excels on both sides of the ball.
He's coming to Pitt to play in the secondary and that's really where the Panthers need him most right now. But Maddox showed his senior year that he's capable of playing all over the field. Literally.
Maddox is the team's do-everything guy on offense and he showed that in a game against Detroit East English Village. In the 30-28 win, he scored three touchdowns. Two were on the ground and as a rusher, he had 88 yards on only nine carries. As a receiver, he had the other touchdown to go along with three catches for 96 yards.
But he's coming here for defense and this quote should get you fired up a little:
"I scored three touchdowns, but I really wanted to focus on defense because defense wins games."
Meanwhile, his coach recognizes his offensive ability but also says he's the main stopper on the team at corner. And, oh yeah, he plays a little quarterback, too:
“He’s the top guy,’’ Harvel said. “He’s our No. 1 threat as a receiver and he takes on everyone else’s No. 1 receiver on defense. He’s a running back at times and we have package with him at quarterback. In fact, he opened the Wyandotte game at QB. We do a lot of things with him because of his talents.”
His coach also says he's not just a great athlete, but the best one in the State of Michigan:
"There is no better athlete in the state of Michigan than Avonte Maddox," Harvel said of his star player. "To show you what goes on, that kid never comes off the football field."
"He plays both sides of the ball, he plays special teams, and he has done an excellent job here at King high school."
As if that weren't enough, he also returned two punts this year for touchdowns and took three of his five interceptions to the house as well. I haven't seen full stats on him, but that last link had him at more than 2,200 yards and 27 touchdowns through their first playoff game. This site says he's a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
For what it's worth, the Panthers' coaches were pretty sold on him, like, right away:
“There were two parts of the camp, but I only did one part,” Maddox said. “I just ran a 40 and did a little workout, and after that they showed me around.”
The Pittsburgh coaches saw enough from Maddox in the first session. They spent the rest of the day trying to get a commitment from him.
Maddox will come to Pitt as a defensive player, but if the Panthers need to switch a player over to offense at some point in his career, he might not be a bad option. He's really built more for a spread offense but you've got to think his talents could fit into a pro style as well.