Madden missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a torn ACL last spring. Before the injury, Madden was thriving after moving from linebacker, where he played as a freshman, to tailback and was on track to be a major contributor last season.
On the 2013 post-spring depth chart, Madden is listed as co-starter along with Silas Redd and early enrollee Justin Davis. With Redd out much of spring with a knee injury of his own, Madden was the team’s leading rusher during the 2013 spring game, with eight carries for 23 yards.
On Friday, Kiffin assured the media that Madden, who participated in everything but full-contact drills during the spring, will be 100 percent when the season begins. The coach suggested that Madden, who has great size and speed, could be a breakout player for the Trojans in 2013.
After Madden was ruled out last year, the coach called him a “natural, instinctive running back” even though he’d only been at the position for a short time. The Trojans, who were 72nd in the nation in rushing a year ago, hope that he’ll return to form and meet last spring’s high expectations.
At the very least, he’ll add depth to a position that was thin throughout the disappointing 2012 campaign, even after the late summer addition of Redd. While the Trojans often struggled to establish the run, it was partially because USC’s rushers were all frequently banged up.
In his former life as a linebacker and now, in his new role as a possible starting running back, Madden has been praised for his toughness and physicality. If he stays healthy and plays to his potential, he’ll give a big boost to the offense formerly known as Tailback U.