Terps starting left tackle Mike Madaras leaving program, school

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Maryland starting left tackle Mike Madaras, a former Under Armour all-American and four-star recruit from Good Counsel, is leaving the football program and withdrawing from school, he announced Tuesday in a statement released by the university.

“This was a difficult decision, but after spending a lot of time thinking about my future and talking with my family, I have realized that my heart is not in the game of football or going to college at this time,” Madaras said. “I did not think it was fair to my teammates to be out there playing when I didn’t share their passion for the game. I appreciate all of the support from Coach [Randy] Edsall and the rest of the Maryland football coaches and support staff. I will be rooting for them in the future.”

According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Madaras’s decision was unrelated to disciplinary measures. This summer, the sophomore received a two-week suspension for violating the school’s student-athlete code of conduct, in which only one violation justifies a suspension of that length: a second failed drug test.

“It helped me sit back and think about where I was at, what I was doing with myself, and it gave me a good perspective of what I want to do,” Madaras said after returning from his suspension. “That two-week suspension, wasn’t happy when it was happening, but looking back on it, I really do think that was a good thing. It put a perspective on things. … I really think this put me back on track.”

Madaras became Maryland’s starting left tackle during the fifth game of his freshman season in 2012 — he was only 17 at the time — and started every game this season protecting the quarterbacks’ blind side. He had scholarship offers from Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and “many others,” according to his biography on the Maryland athletics Web site.

With four games left in the season, Maryland’s struggling offensive line will be forced to replace its starting left tackle who, even despite recent inconsistencies — he committed three penalties against Clemson on Saturday and had one more holding flag declined — had been a steady rock there all fall. Madaras had made 16 straight starts; only center Sal Conaboy (17) and left guard De’Onte Arnett (18) have made more.

The Terrapins are off this weekend before returning to the field Nov. 9 against Syracuse.

According to the depth chart released before Maryland’s loss to Clemson on Saturday, junior Jake Wheeler slotted behind Madaras as the backup left tackle. Wheeler has appeared in every game this season. The Terps could also consider moving freshman Moise Larose over from his backup spot at right tackle.

Edsall also released a statement supporting Madaras’s decision.

“I met with Mike and he expressed his desire to no longer be a student-athlete at the University of Maryland,” Edsall said. “We wish him the best and are here to support him any way we can in the future.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · October 29, 2013