2014 RB Madre London Has Eyes On Michigan State and Nebraska
If Penn State is Linebacker U, then Michigan State is Running Back U. MSU boasts a long line of talented running backs that includes Lorenzo White, T.J. Duckett, Javon Ringer, Le’Veon Bell and many more. Head coach Mark Dantonio might be courting the next one in class of 2014 recruit Madre London.
In today’s college football world, running backs need to be able to do it all: run, catch and block. Madre London can do all three exceptionally well. He runs the ball with a purpose, reels in every pass hurled his way, and levels every defender who stands in his path, making him a precious commodity to programs across the country. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native has already fielded over 10 scholarship offers, and is sure to receive a few more. Michigan State, Florida State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are among the big-time programs that have shown interest in the youngster. But thanks in part to the efforts of skilled recruiter Mark Dantonio, London has narrowed his choices to MSU and Nebraska.
The talented back recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio to talk about Michigan State and his recruitment.
Many pundits immediately point to a running back’s 40-yard dash time in judging his talent. This approach is not always best, as it ignores a player’s quickness in the heat of battle. And is London quick. He dashes through holes like a lightning bolt and puts on a blazing burst of speed in the open field, something that can’t be measured by a drill. And should a defender close in on him, London busts out a juke move that allows him to evade the overzealous tackler. Coaches crave his type of quickness, which explains why he has garnered so much interest.
Speedy running backs often dodge contact whenever possible. They run out of bounds to avoid taking a hit or shy away when a defender comes charging at them. Not London. He embraces hits, fighting for every last inch of ground. The 6’1, 205 pound product will push his way forward regardless of how many defenders are on his back. London does not go down easily. His ability to gain extra yards can be traced back to his strength. The young back benches over 300 pounds and squats over 450. He has rare strength for a fast running back. In this area, London is certainly ready for Big Ten football.
London attends one of the most well-respected high school football programs in the country. St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a seven-time Florida state football champion, and has had eight alumni drafted into the NFL since 2008, including Geno Atkins and Leonard Hankerson. Thus, carries do not always come easily. Last season, London often had to split time in the backfield with class of 2013 Bowling Green commit Fred Coppet.
As a result, London spent significant time as a lead blocker. Unlike many running backs, he relishes the role. London could be mistaken for a fullback at times, as he often drives would-be tacklers into the ground. To the dedicated football fan, London is a breath of fresh air. He is a throwback to the powerful back from the days of old, unselfishly and enthusiastically paving the way for his teammates. London loves to block, especially the big uglies up front. “That’s the bread and butter. That’s dinnertime. That’s when you can take advantage of all the things you have been working on and just take it to the [defensive] line,” he said.
London also has hands made of glue. He can catch the ball on either his left or right side, snagging every pass tossed to him. The Florida native is an avid user of the JUGS passing machine, taking every opportunity to become a better receiver. “To be a good back you have to do all those things…running the ball, hand blocking and catching the ball,” London said. “So I work on all of those three things.”
With his quickness, strength and versatility, London has the potential to develop into the quintessential Spartan back. It is no wonder why Dantonio chose to offer the back a spot in Michigan State’s 2014 recruiting class. “You don’t really see that many head coaches offering a lot of kids. So that meant a lot,” London stated. “It meant I’m a very special person to them and that coaching style. So for him to call and offer me was great. I really like Michigan State.”
Following his conversation with Dantonio, London has begun to ponder a visit to East Lansing. The only problem is the length of the journey: 1,412 miles to be precise. “It’s kind of far,” London said. “But I’m definitely going to try and take an official visit there, either at a game or after the season. Whichever one is better for them.”
MSU offensive line coach Mark Staten has made the trip once to Fort Lauderdale, visiting London not too long ago. “He wants to pick one of those running backs that can run behind the big boys and take care of them. He came down for the spring game,” London said. “He came down a week before the spring game and just really talked to me, saying he’s going to keep his eyes on me.”
By now, the pressing question on every Spartan fan’s mind is this: when will London make his college decision? London’s answer: “I’m taking my time.” He has set no timeline, as he wants to make sure that his all-important decision is the right one. “I told Coach Dantonio [that] I’m going to take my time in doing what I can, because you’re only going to have that one chance to make a decision. And when you make a decision you have to deal with it. So he respected that and no doubt he was not going to pressure me,” London explained. “He’s always going be there.”
Though the recruiting process fazes some young recruits, London has not been affected by any of the hype or media coverage. No matter what, he always stays positive: “[I] just keep working hard and [I] have to keep my head on right. There’s going to be a lot of [people] out there who judge you and say negative things about you just to bring you down. But you just have to accept the fact that there’s always going to be some haters out there,” London said. “You just have to knock out negatives and keep the positives going. Just keep working hard and keep your head up.”
Though he is a fiend on the football field, London is a totally different person off it. Those close to the young man attest that London has a good heart, which he says is “brought up from my family, recent teachers. Be a caring person. I feel like if you give back to people, then they give back to you.” London continued, “You can receive just as much from them. I believe in that. Just being nice to people. Everything’s going to come out in a good way in the long run.”
A student-athlete gifted in many ways, Madre London has the potential to be the next great Spartan running back. He has all the necessary skills to be a successful all-around back in the Big Ten, and would be a great addition to MSU’s 2014 recruiting class. Hopefully for the Spartan Nation, when the young man makes his well-thought out decision, he will choose the Green and White.