Carlton Madden Jr: His determined “PBJ” path to a much-wanted offer from UGA
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry details the ascent of 3-star OLB Carlton Madden Jr. and his recent de-commitment from Colorado.
It was approximately 11 months ago the first time this correspondent laid eyes on Carlton Madden Jr. at a Cedar Grove High School practice.
The Saints were a defending state championship team. They had more options than the salad dressing aisle does in terms of Front 7 defenders with Power 5 potential.
Rising junior DLs Christen Miller and Joshua White were the type of players that would eventually draw early #Boss22 moves edits from UGA on September 1, 2020. That was the first day per NCAA rules that big-time programs could reach out directly to the 2022 class.
The first extended views for Madden came at a padded practice in the fall of 2020. There were at least six future SEC-level players on the field that day. Madden was not one of those.
He was close, but he wasn’t quite there. Not yet.
“CJ” did not go unnoticed, though. Even amid a practice with about 10-to-12 future Power 5 players on the practice field that day.
The way he moved was impressive. Both the speed and the intensity of his work rate. As it turns out, that just comes with the last name.
“I work so hard and play for my family,” he said. “Just to have the opportunity to put my family and their lives in a better place than where they are now. Better opportunities and better chances for me. It all comes down to hard work. It is just in me. I think I get that from my Dad.”
“He’s a real hard worker. Always provides. Always takes care of us. That hard work trait of his I think is just in me. I get that trying to make things better for our family from him. That’s where my grit comes from.”
“I’ve got a little brother. He’s 10 years old. He looks up at me. I always try to lead him in the right direction.”
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An offer fueled by a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
He earned a long-sought offer from Georgia late last week.
The Georgia offer and the ensuing de-commitment from Colorado certainly makes UGA a player in his recruiting going forward. That’s even with Georgia having significant options with Shemar Stewart, Enai White, Dani Dennis-Sutton and Jihaad Campbell there showing heavy interest in Georgia in the 2022 cycle.
Why does Madden now think he has a chance to play for Georgia? Even among those very big names?
Let’s point the finger at Kirby Smart for that one. And defensive coordinator Dan Lanning.
What went through his mind when Smart gave him that offer last week? Well, there’s a little bit of backstory to that. Madden worked out for UGA back on June 3.
When Smart offered, it was memorable. For many reasons.
“I was really excited, but I am not going to lie to you,” Madden said. “I didn’t really show it. I really was excited on the inside. I just felt like it was coming. But I was real blessed and thankful. It was a really good time. My family was in the room.”
“My mother, my grandma and my little brother were all in the room when Coach Smart offered me. It was a real crazy experience.”
As it stands, that is the only offer his inner circle of family members has seen him receive. Or to even hear him get.
“The first time I came to UGA (on June 3) I feel like I definitely did earn that offer,” Madden said. “Coach Smart pulled me aside and he wanted to talk about a couple of things. Coach Dan [Lanning] said ‘You got what it takes’ but then of course with Georgia being a prestigious school they had to do their research.”
Smart found his own Intel. Madden said the Georgia head coach did everything but find out whether he can do the “Carlton” dance (he can) and whether or not he’s a 5-star in the “Madden” football video game.
“Coach Smart said he looked at my grades and he called up a couple of counselors and to ask about me and things like that,” Madden said. “To ask about my character and things like that. The offer was definitely earned and it wasn’t given.”
It was a different process for him.
“Kirby Smart said I earned my offer the old-fashioned way,” Madden said. “I didn’t have the film at this weight. I had to go up to the camp and basically prove myself. When he said he wanted to offer me a scholarship, I looked around the room to my family and their eyes were bright. They’d never seen or heard anyone get an offer. I’m basically the only one in my family to go this far. This was definitely a blessing as it was the first one of my offers that they got to see face-to-face or even heard. Period.”
Stories like his are the most fun to track in this business. The instant All-Americans and 5-stars are easy to spot in their freshman and sophomore seasons. When you see the ascent happen for a guy like Madden, it just means a little bit more.
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What is next for Carlton Madden Jr. after his de-commitment?
His family was made up of Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Bulldog fans growing up.
“Georgia was definitely definitely a dream school of mine and it was really a dream come true to get offered by them on Thursday,” he said. “They say dreams come true so.... you know?”
There’s that “definitely” descriptor at work again.
Before he made the move on Monday afternoon, he had told DawgNation that “soon soon” he was going to have to make a big decision.
He’s now preparing to take an official visit to UGA. He also said he’d like to check out Ole Miss.
Was this a committable offer? Does he know?
“Coach Smart when he was talking he didn’t say ‘exactly’ but he did say along the lines of ‘spots’ and every class has ‘x’ amount of spots and it is starting to stack up for Georgia,” Madden said.
Georgia currently has 10 public commitments. There’s more than a feeling here the Bulldogs have seen a few more prospects stake claims to more spots than just those 10.
“He said they definitely had ‘x’ amount of commitments already and he definitely said something along the lines of ‘If you hop on it, you can get it but if you wait then things start to fill up’ so that’s that.”
If he does decide to play for Georgia, what would be the top reason why?
“The main thing will probably just be home,” he said. “It is like an hour away. Close to family and friends. I will definitely say the talent they put in the league is definitely a first-round school. They definitely put people in the first round almost every year. So things that can further my career and along with that the education.”
“Having a degree from Georgia that can hold a lot of weight. That’s definitely the main three for me there.”
It was a long day at camp. Madden said his “earned offer” camp day was tiring.
“They do like to work at Georgia,” Madden said. “The lines for drills weren’t long and so you didn’t get any breaks like that. But I do like to work and push through the fatigue. Coach Lanning told me that I have good hips and good explosiveness. For me to be 235 or 240 pounds and to move as I did was really impressive.”
“When we did 1-on-1s, I really showed out then. That’s when Coach Smart pulled me aside and we really talked about all of that.”
Madden took an official visit to Colorado on the second weekend of June. That staff reached out immediately after Georgia extended that offer. He now plans to see Ole Miss soon.
He is planning a major in business engineering or business finance. His father owns his company. That’s part of the reason why he wants to give King Madden, his 10-year older sibling, the right person to look up to.
“CJ” is planning to graduate and enroll early in January of 2022.
The rising senior at Cedar Grove now ranks as the nation’s No. 37 EDGE and the No. 912 overall prospect for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite scale. It seems safe to say that the evaluation there belongs to the 2020 model of his game. Not the current version that UGA just offered late last week.
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