Spartans Wide Receiver Monty Madaris
Breaks Out in Season Opener against
Monty Madaris, the next Aaron Burbridge?
EAST LANSING - Michigan State running back L.J. Scott, expected by many to have a breakout campaign for the Spartans, did his part on Friday night, rushing for 105 yards on 20 carries, but it was wide receiver Monty Madaris who had the true coming out party in Sparty's, 28-13, season-opening victory over Furman.
In a crowded receiving corps, the fifth-year senior, Madaris, out shined his entire 2015 season with 85 receiving yards on five catches.
"I think you saw speed," Michigan State quarterback Tyler O'Connor said in the post-game press conference, when referring to Madaris. "I think you saw a guy that we need to get the ball in his hands as much as possible."
"I think he had a couple catches down the field maybe, but for the most part, they were within five yards, and then he made somebody miss and took it for 20."
"I think maybe he showed something to the coaches tonight, but he's always had wheels. We've known that, but for him to go out and actually do that and perform at a high level and really make some plays, I think you can expect that a little bit more."
Standout receiver R.J. Shelton left the game due to an injury sustained on a punt return in the first quarter, and Madaris picked up the slack, quickly becoming O'Connor's favorite target. Head coach Mark Dantonio said in the post-game presser that Shelton's injury was minor.
Madaris, who totaled just 47 receiving yards on two catches in 2015 and 56 receiving yards on five catches in 2014, looks to play the 2016 role of a 2015 Aaron Burbridge.
Burbridge, who led all Spartan receivers in 2015, was nothing more than a secondary option heading into last season. Fast forward a few months, and the senior destroyed his career totals in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in a year that led to him being named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year.
At 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, Burbridge's mix of crisp route running and speed made him an easy target for former quarterback Connor Cook to sling at. The two connected 85 times for 1258 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
With a near identical build, at 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, the agile Madaris will look to build on his early, yet strong, rapport with fellow fifth-year senior O'Connor.
"Our chemistry is very high," O'Cononor said. "We know what each other wants, but obviously there is still a lot to go this year."
The Spartans look to a bye this week, before taking a trip to South Bend to take on AP's NO. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, Sep. 17. Kickoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m.