Justin Madubuike is listed as a defensive end just about everywhere. And he probably would be one at the next level if he were playing at a college this fall.
He’s not, though. He’s only going to be a senior in high school this season and even if he kicks outside to play this season (he lined up inside as a junior), I think he is likely to grow into an interior player and a very good one at that.
Madubuike has great initial quickness and moves well for his size, but has good lateral movement. He has good size with room to add quite a bit more weight. He looks like he could be able to carry around 280 fairly comfortably.
It’s interesting that Madubuike is listed as a defensive end as he plays inside at defensive tackle for his high school. He overwhelms many of the guards he plays against with a great first step that allows him to be a penetrator into the backfield. It’s remarkable how often he goes unblocked to make plays. Some of that is just a poor job by the offensive line and some of that is him just being so quick off the ball that he just flat out beats the slower footed offensive linemen who is assigned to down block him. He is always attacking.
I would like to see him consistently bring his hands more because he can expose his chest at times, but when he does bring his hands it’s tough for the offensive lineman to recover because he is on them so quickly. It’s incredibly tough for any blocker to reach him because of his first step.
I would worry a little about him getting caught up in trap blocks because he wants to get upfield so fast that he can beat players and get to plays before they develop at the high school level, but it would be foolish to try and take away his attacking mentality. He should be able to learn to diagnose blocks and react quickly enough where this shouldn’t become a major issue.
Right now he wins in the pass rush by being so quick and does a nice job of attacking the edge of his man and ripping through. A lot of the times, that can be enough as an interior pass rusher, but obviously there are going to be better guards who can handle him and it would be nice to see what else he has and how far he is developed as a pass rusher. He does show the ability to beat guards with sharp lateral movement, which should be very beneficial with inside twists.
I believe he is a three technique in a 4-3 at the next level. I don’t see him in an end in that scheme, but he could also play as an end in a 3-4. His best is as a three, in my opinion, though.
I really like his potential as an interior pass rusher, which is why I hope he chooses a team that plays a four man front where he can play inside rather than be a two-gap player at end for a team in a thirty front. He has some weight to gain to get there, but I think he is eventually going to be a very good player that can cause a lot of disruption in the right scheme.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).