Auto-Maddox decision: playing two sports at Richmond

by C. Jemal Horton

Providence High senior Xander Maddox will play football and baseball at the University of Richmond. (Jim Dedmon/SCW photo)

Ever since he was a young boy excelling in youth athletic leagues, Xander Maddox dreamed of playing sports in college. He just didn’t really know whether he wanted to play football or baseball.

Now, he apparently won’t have to choose.

On Jan. 15, the Providence High School senior made a commitment to play both sports for the University of Richmond.

Maddox also gave serious consideration to attending William & Mary, to which he took an official visit in December. Ultimately, though, Maddox said he felt the opportunity to matriculate to Richmond was something he simply could not let slip away.

“My family and I felt that Richmond was a better fit for me as a student-athlete, and as a student overall,” said Maddox, who sports a 3.8 GPA. “Richmond is a great academic institution, and the coaches there are excited about having me in the program. I’m excited to be going there.”

Maddox made his initial visit to Richmond last September, attending a Spiders football game. This past weekend, he made a return trip to the campus. Before leaving, he proudly told the coaches that he would be enrolling there this summer.

“I’m excited and relieved that (the recruiting process) is finally over,” Maddox said. “It’s been a long process, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how things would go.

“(The Richmond baseball and football coaches) said I could play both sports, and hopefully I’ll get to do that. It’s something I’ve always wanted. And if a school is going to let me realize my dreams, it sounds like a great place for me.”

Maddox expects to sign a National Letter of Intent with Richmond in February.

Maddox said the school’s football coaching staff recruited him as a cornerback.

“But they like the fact that I can play both sides of the ball, so that’s a possibility, too,” said Maddox, who, during his two seasons at Providence, played defensive back, receiver, quarterback and return man on special teams.

Maddox played his first two high school seasons at Charlotte Latin.

On the baseball diamond, Maddox said Richmond coaches see him primarily as a center fielder.

By playing both sports, Maddox will be following in the footsteps of his father, Leland, who played football and baseball at the University of California.

“It’s a blessing from God,” Leland Maddox said. “For Xander to have the opportunity to fulfill both his dreams is what makes it really special. The football coach said he loved Xander’s athleticism and that they had other guys play both sports at Richmond, like (former NFL and Major League Baseball player) Brian Jordan.

“Xander wasn’t just going to go anywhere; he was willing to go to a junior college if no (four-year college) allowed him to play both sports, and Richmond gave him everything he wanted. You can’t ask for more than that.”

His son couldn’t agree more.

“It’s amazing how things work,” Xander Maddox said. “I’ve worked really hard for this, and it’s just exciting to see it pay off.

“I’m just glad it’s all over.”

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