James Madison wins SDSU Passing Camp #1

Credit: Twitter @MadhouseFB

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Credit: Twitter @MadhouseFB

This past weekend, SDSU hosted its first passing camp in two years. According to the Aztecs’ staff, the event went well without any major mishaps. With a high of 70 degrees and a low of 63 on Saturday, it was the perfect recruiting pitch to the throngs of players and families that descended on the Mesa. More than half of the 32 teams in the field were local schools. In the end, it was an Aztec that brought home the championship.

“We have come to SDSU as long as I have been at Madison,” Rick Jackson told EVT. Jackson is entering his 19th season as the Warhawks’ head coach. “SDSU’s staff is great, makes me proud to be an alumni.”

Following pool play on Saturday, Madison entered the double-elimination tournament on Sunday as the top overall seed. At the other end of the bracket stood the two seed, the Lincoln High School Hornets. Undefeated in all seven contests before the final, the two local rivals squared off in the championship.

Madison outlasted Lincoln 15-12 to take home the title. In a game decided by extra point conversions, the play of the game and ultimately of the tournament was made by Jaylon Brown. Lined up outside next to the sideline, Brown came off his man to intercept a pass and seal the win for the Warhawks.  

“We wanted to compete, get great reps, and win the tournament,” Jackson said. “We were happy with our team. “We competed, handled some adversity, survived some close games, and grew up a little in an intense, emotional, extremely competitive atmosphere.”

Among the San Diego prep community, the Warhawks did more than just win a tournament. They announced to the county that they will be among the top teams playing in the fall. Before the camp, most of the buzz centered on local teams like Cathedral Catholic, Mater Dei, Scripps Ranch, Carlsbad, and Lincoln, and for good reason.

Cathedral, Mater Dei, and Scripps Ranch return important pieces after winning State titles a year ago. Carlsbad was terrific last year and has the county’s highest-ranked QB prospect ever. Lincoln has arguably the best RB in the county in four-star UCLA commit Roderick Robinson. With the tournament championship, Madison joins that select group, showing that they have one of the best collections of skill position players in San Diego.

“The truth is all of our kids played really well,” Jackson explained. “I could talk about every single one of them. Our QB Reggie Johnson played great for all eight games.  I thought Sean Webb played great on both sides of the ball, and Berrot Rankin and Jaylon Brown really played great.”

To have a complete team and compete for a CIF Championship, Madison will need to match the finesse they showed over the weekend with strength in the trenches in the fall. Fortunately, they are led there by one of the top offensive linemen on the west coast, Jonah Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a three-star recruit in the class of 2023 who already has 12 offers from division one programs, including one from his hometown school, San Diego State.

SDSU has had recent success with local linemen staying home to play in front of their family and friends.  In 2020, Carlsbad’s Jonathan Harrison chose to be an Aztec. Helix’ Josh Simmons made the same choice in 2021. This past year, Rambo Mageo made it three seasons in a row, where a San Diego lineman elected to go to school at SDSU. The Aztecs are hoping Rodriguez will make it four years straight.

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“Jonah Rodriguez is a physical, smart, motivated football player,” Jackson explained. “He wants to be great, and he works to be great. Wherever he goes, they will love him.”

Rodriguez is not the only Warhawk the Aztecs are actively recruiting. Following the tournament, defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix extended an offer to 2024 defensive back Martell Hughes. The offer was Hughes’ second. At 6’2”, 180 pounds, he profiles well at any of the five secondary positions in Mattix’s 3-3-5 defense.

“Martell Hughes is special,” Jackson said. “Athletic, physical, smart, and just a great young man. He will be a big-time recruit as a 24. He can flat-out ball, and nobody works harder than him on the field, in the classroom, and just in general. A wonderful young man to be around.”

Madison walked away with the championship, but the real winner of the event was the San Diego football community. This will be the only tournament Madison, a local public school, will compete in this summer. Without camps like SDSU’s passing tournament or the one the University of San Diego is holding on June 25th, many local teams would not have the chance to compete together before their season.

The event also provided the Aztecs an opportunity to market their brand. Attendance was high over two days as the players’ families showed up in droves. Those who came witnessed the hallmark of SDSU’s program, competitive football.

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