Program Spotlight: Dwayne Maddox
Oct. 17, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. - Teammates never want to see another teammate go down with injury. The bond between teammates goes beyond the playing field, and often they act as each other's biggest support system.
But injuries do happen, and teammates must step up and replace those unable to play.
Such is the case for senior linebacker Dwayne Maddox.
Maddox got his chance at the WILL linebacker position, starting games against Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. The senior from Concord, N.C., got this opportunity in his final season because an injury to Terrell Manning forced him from the lineup.
"This (was) just an opportunity to show that I can play at this level, and to show I can help my team when somebody goes down by filling their spot," said Maddox. "It is up to me to do the job to the best of my ability."
Maddox filled in for Manning for the majority of the three games, seeing 191 snaps and has averaged 6.0 tackles per game in that stretch.
Maddox is no stranger to being asked to fill into different roles at linebacker during his career with the Wolfpack.
He enrolled at NC State in January of 2008, and made four starts as a true freshman. He was the only freshman to start a game on defense that season, and was in for 308 snaps. As a sophomore in 2009, he started 11 of the 12 games, at two different positions.
"It was an experience, that's for sure," said Maddox. "I enjoyed it, and I certainly don't regret getting the early opportunity to play. I feel like I helped my team. Of course, sometimes I played good and sometimes I made those freshman mistakes. I'm just glad I got the opportunity early on."
"When I committed here, I committed to stay here for four years and help my team in any way I could," Maddox told The Wolfpacker. "My first couple of years I played, but this season, I started not playing too much. I'm a team player. There is no `I' in team. Anytime I'm called into the game, I'll do what I have to do."
Maddox has been a versatile part of the linebackers during his time at NC State. He has practiced at all three positions, and feels comfortable to be plugged into whatever position the coaches need him to play.
"If one guy goes down, I can go in there and play their position with me having more experience the different linebacker positions," said Maddox. "It helps the team with me having a lot of experience, and I think the coaches are comfortable with that role that I fill."
With his opportunity at linebacker this season, Maddox knows that constantly improving as a player both on and off the field is important for him to have success.
"The one thing I keep working on is getting my body in the best shape I can be in," said Maddox. "I take pride in just being able to run and work hard without getting tired, so staying in shape is probably the most important thing for me.
"I want to be a student of the game. So many of us have the physical tools. That is why we are at this level, but then you have to take it further and focus on the mental part of the game."
Being a senior on this year's Wolfpack team, his teammates have the trust in him when he is called into action.
"Dwayne is a hard-working guy," safety Earl Wolff told The Wolfpacker. "Dwayne and I are really close friends. When Terrell went down I was upset, but as soon as Dwayne came in, I already had confidence in him. Dwayne is a smart guy. He came in and made a lot of plays, and I'm glad he is on the team."
Maddox did not have to travel far to play college football, as he graduated from Crest High School in Shelby, N.C., which is located just outside of Charlotte.
"My family is the reason I decided to stay in the state of North Carolina to play college football," said Maddox "I wanted them to have the opportunity to come see me play, because the most important thing to me is my family. Without them, I really do not think I would of gotten to this level.
"My family has always done everything they could to get to all my games, and that is something that means so much to me and something I do not take for granted. Having that support system has really helped me with all my aspirations here at NC State."
Maddox has leaned on the support of his family during his NC State career, and losing his father last year was tough for him to overcome.
"He would always tell me to keep my head up when I wasn't playing as much as I might have wanted to," said Maddox. "He was the one that was encouraging me to continue to practice hard, and to take advantage of the chances I was given.
"I do miss that relationship, and I think about the times we had together. Just talking to him before or after a game was something I cherish now, and it motivates me to play harder and to play for him."
Maddox has taken advantage of his time here at NC State off the football field, and will graduate with a degree in public and interpersonal communication this fall. What is even more impressive is Maddox will graduate in four years while dedicating so much of his time to football.
"My parents growing up were all about me doing good with my academics," said Maddox. "Sports were always something I did well in, but they wanted me to focus on school. My father always wanted me to finish up my degree here and graduate. He was always telling me that is one thing I will have with me for the rest of my life.
"The academic people here really push us to take more credit hours than the minimum 12 per semester, so that definitely helped me get to my graduation day faster."
While Maddox is still focusing on the rest of the 2011 season, it will not be long before his eligibility is up and he will have his degree in hand. Come this spring, Maddox faces the tough decision of what to do with his future.
"Once the spring comes I am going to see how far football can go," said Maddox. "But once that part of my life is over, I am wide open to working in public relations or marketing."
By Brian Reinhardt