In February, Prep Rally brought you the inspiring story of Shaquem Griffin, a one-handed defensive back for St. Petersburg (Fl.) Lakewood High who overcame his physical shortcoming so completely that he earned a spot in the International Bowl high school all-star game and eventually signed a scholarship (with his right hand) to play at the University of Central Florida.
Now we know that Griffin isn’t alone.
Meet Brandon Madrid. Like Griffin, Madrid lacks the lower half of his left arm. Like Madrid, it has hardly slowed him from achieving a series of life goals, including playing for the Albuquerque (N.M.) Volcano Vista High varsity football team. Now, after an impressive junior season, Madrid will be competing in the NMPreps.com Elite Combine, a Land of Enchantment skills test aimed at getting attention for the state’s best collegiate prospects.
“I was just born like that,” Madrid told NMPreps. “It was just a birth defect and didn’t grow the way it was supposed to. Basically [Madrid likes] proving everybody wrong, because they think I can’t do it with one arm. They don’t think I have what it takes to play but I can show everyone that I do.”
According to NMPreps football analyst Kyle Henderson, Madrid sealed no fewer than three Volcano Vista victories in 2012 with interceptions, just three of his nine picks across the course of the 7-6 season. One of those concluded the Hawks’ 25-24 state quarterfinal victory against Rio Rancho (N.M.) High, a win that earned the school its first ever berth in the New Mexico state semifinals.
Add 40 solo tackles and 16 deflected passes, and it’s clear that Madrid should get significant consideration for a college scholarship of some sort regardless of any disabilities. He even served as a wide receiver in one game (really) and kick returner in two others.
By the end of the year, Madrid was a 2012 New Mexico All-State selection, so why shouldn’t he be a legitimate collegiate prospect?
If you ask Madrid’s teammates, they’re quick to tell you that the All-State status and his stats still don’t give the rising senior justice for his physical play.
"Brandon is probably the best corner back in the state of New Mexico in my eyes,” Connor Anderson, a consensus Division I wide receiver recruit at Volcano Vista told NM Preps. “I go up against him every single day in practice and he makes me better, I make him better.
"He is probably one of the hardest workers on the team. He is getting reps in the weight room doing as much as he can, going hard all the time, he's just a great player."
Whether he will get a chance to be a great player at the next level remains to be seen. Given his commitment to the sport and his clear talent, it would be a shame if he didn’t. He’ll get a chance to reinforce all those positive stats and vibes during his senior season beginning in August, and before then at the NMPreps.com combine. Whatever you do, just don’t count him out.