This Boise State QB is focused on getting back on the field after ‘devastating’ injury

Boise State quarterback Maddux Madsen said last season was unlike anything he has experienced in his career.

He went into his redshirt freshman year expecting to back up the Broncos’ former starting quarterback Taylen Green, who transferred to Arkansas and won the starting job this spring. He was Green’s backup for most of the season, but in title only. Green was listed as the starter on the depth chart, but Madsen played more several games and ended the year with more pass attempts.

Madsen won the starting job before Boise State’s win over New Mexico last November, but his tenure was short lived. He suffered a season-ending knee injury at the end of the first half. Green started the rest of the season and was named Offensive MVP in the Broncos’ win over UNLV in the Mountain West championship game.

“It was devastating,” Madsen told reporters on Thursday. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through, but my support system helped me get through it.”

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Madsen, who had surgery last November to repair a torn MCL and PCL in his right knee, never missed a game in his career before last season. He even found a way to play through a dislocated shoulder at American Fork High in Utah. He missed five games last season, but despite suffering the first major injury of his career and all the confusion around playing time, Madsen said last year came with a silver lining.

“I kind of found myself as a competitor,” Madsen said. “I learned a lot from being tossed in those moments and doing what’s best for the team.”

Madsen has been on the practice field this spring, but in a limited capacity. He said he’s able to roll out and plant on his right leg without pain. He’s been taking part in individual drills and 7-on-7 sessions, but he hasn’t been on the field for any live 11-on-11 team sessions.

Boise State football coach Spencer Danielson said Madsen isn’t expected to be fully cleared until fall camp begins in August. Madsen has still been an important part of the team, though. He’s been like an extra coach on the field at times, wide receiver Austin Bolt said.

“He wants to be out there, and that says enough about ‘Mad Dog,’” Bolt said. “(The coaches) have to tell him to calm down sometimes because even in 7-on-7, if it’s a bad read, he’s rolling out like it’s a live scramble drill.”

Madsen said he knew his injury was serious as soon as it happened. He also believed after surgery that he could work his way back in time to play in the spring game. That isn’t going to happen, he said Thursday, but Danielson said that kind of mentality makes him a special player.

“Maddux loves this place and he loves his teammates,” Danielson said. “He’s going to work his tail off to get back on the field with his brothers as soon as possible, and we’re excited about what he can do.”

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Another hill to climb

Madsen is going to have to defy the odds again if he’s going to win the starting job this year. There weren’t many people that gave him a shot at playing over Green, who stands about seven inches taller than Madsen and was one of the fastest players on the team.

This year, Madsen will have to win a camp battle against former USC quarterback Malachi Nelson, who transferred to Boise State this year and has four years of eligibility left. He graduated high school as a five-star recruit, was ESPN’s No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class and had his pick of scholarship offers. Madsen was a three-star recruit with scholarship offers from Boise State and New Mexico.

Madsen said he isn’t intimidated, though. He knows he has the experience edge. Madsen played in nine games last season. Nelson played in one and took just three snaps. Tiller, who started the LA Bowl, is the only other quarterback on the roster that has started a game.

“A big part of it is understanding the high level the game has to be played at,” Madsen said. “It also comes from (the) mentality side of stuff. The way I compete is hard to beat. I’m going to give my all at everything I do.”

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Madsen said he wasn’t surprised or upset when he found out Nelson was coming to town. He said he knew the team was going to add a transfer quarterback. He said he even knew it was going to be Nelson long before the news came out, and all along, he was excited to compete with such a highly-touted player.

“Malachi is a stud,” Madsen said. “His arm talent is awesome, but what’s been more impressive is the way he has progressed from Week 1 to now. He took a big jump after spring break.”

Make no mistake. Madsen is focused on winning the starting job, but after everything he’s been through the past five months, he’s also just thankful to be back on the field.

“It’s a blessing to play football and be out there again,” Madsen said. “It’s good that I’m getting out there now so I don’t have to feel that pressure when fall camp comes around.”