As the football season unfolded last year, Michigan State’s six-man wide receiver rotation started to see a new face. Then-sophomore Monty Madaris cracked the playing group roughly midway through last season and got his first real game action as a Spartan.
Now, he could be a much more prominent member of the rotation at wide receiver.
“He is a smart guy, knows the offense,” quarterback Connor Cook said. “He is just out there just playing. Before I think he was thinking a lot and now he is just out there reacting.”
The junior tops the depth chart at the Z-position heading into spring football camp this season. And with the departures of staples Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery, he should shoulder some of the snaps and responsibilities.
Cook praised Madaris for his speed, physical talents and playmaking ability, but it is his physicality that stands out.
”He is just a quiet guy outside of football, but on the field, he lets that other guy out,” Cook said.
That trait is seen especially with his blocking – which is more than a willingness, leaning to a desire.
”Say if someone throws a pass to (A.J.) Troup and Troup’s running, Monty is looking for someone to freaking just crack,” Cook said. “Or if it’s downfield and he has got his hands engaged into someone, he is not going to let that person go.
”He plays angry but he plays focused, too.”
Madaris had five catches for 56 yards last season, but his production figures to see a jump with more opportunities coming as he has steadily been building toward it.
“I thought he had an outstanding fall camp (last season),” coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s a guy who started to play a little bit in there, got into the top six last year. He’s got great speed. He’s got great ball awareness. Big-bodied guy. Catches the ball down the field very well.
”So I just felt like, based on his performances in bowl practice, that he would be a guy that would move up to that position.”