BRADENTON, Fla. — On the IMG Academy campus, Madden 16 is a very, very sensitive subject.
There are a lot of bragging rights at stake anytime Jhamon Ausbon has a hand on the controller because all of his teammates are gunning to take him down.
Some, like teammates Grant Delpit and Asa Martin, have claimed to have defeated the 4-star LSU wide receiver commit, though the truth is difficult to untangle.
Official Madden 16 records may be impossible to uncover, but it’s undeniable that Ausbon has established himself as the player to beat in the famous video game — not only at IMG Academy, but among the world rankings.
When Ausbon committed to LSU in July, he told SEC Country that he was the No. 26 Madden player in the nation. That’s just about as impressive as being the No. 11 wide receiver in the 2017 recruiting class considering there are even more Madden-ites than elite high school receivers.
Perhaps that’s why some of his teammates oft refer to Ausbon as a Madden guru.
“I definitely beat Jhamon every time I play him in Madden,” proclaimed Delpit, Ausbon’s best friend and fellow LSU commit.
“Nah, I’m playing. He gets me a couple of times, but I’ll give it to him — he’s a guru at that kind of stuff, but on the field, that might be a different story.”
IMG Academy players are lucky to squeeze in a game of Madden in between a rigid day-to-day itinerary which largely consists of schoolwork, football, weightlifting and then more football.
Ausbon seems to gravitate toward video games when the moment strikes.
That moment doesn’t come around as often during the high school football season. IMG is 7-0 and claims the No. 2 overall ranking in the country. Perhaps the team is so good because there’s no Wi-Fi in the dorms, which restricts their leading wide receiver from going head-to-head deep into the night with the other nationally elite Madden players.
That leaves Ausbon to battle Delpit and Martin, a 2018 4-star running back, to go at it. The record between Ausbon and Martin certainly is up for question, but the stud junior credited Ausbon for being as dynamic on the virtual screen as he is on the field.
“Jhamon only beat me one time,” Martin laughed, “so I don’t know why he’s saying that he’s the guru. I’m really the guru at Madden. I’m the best Madden player at IMG right now.”
“I’m messing around,” he went on. “Jhamon is a concepts guy. He knows defenses and he’ll pick you apart with his offenses, too. He’s more of a quarterback playing Madden, a real concepts guy that when you play the wrong defense, he’s going to pick you apart.”
As far as their head-to-head record goes, Ausbon estimated Martin has beaten him once in their last 50 showdowns. An honest answer may never come …
Ausbon’s elevation into national stardom in Madden is a product of the strides he has made into his senior campaign. In addition to polishing up his physical attributes, the 4-star wide receiver has fine-tuned his football IQ, which he uses to his advantage in the video game version.
“Being smarter on the field helps me at Madden. Obviously, it’s a video game and they don’t have human brains, so everyone isn’t playing as if they’re a coach,” Ausbon said. “You take what you learn on the field and put it into a game. Depending on the coverage, I’ll run a certain concept — like a stick concept is good in Cover 2, but in man (coverage), stick isn’t a good concept, so I’ll audible out. So, I run my defense based on a concept and things like that.”
On offense, Ausbon’s strategy is it a tad less complex. He merely defers to his LSU lineage.
Former Tigers great and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is Ausbon’s go-to target in Madden. The soon-to-be LSU wideout is fond of throwing in the direction of his favorite NFL player and, to be completely honest, the results speak for itself.
“I feed him. You can’t cover him,” Ausbon said of Beckham.
“I spread the ball out and I play with the Giants, so you can get a bunch of good wide receivers like Odell, Sterling Shepard, (Dwayne) Harris and (Victor) Cruz. I spread it out and let them play ball, and usually, people in Madden like to run the ball, so I run quarters and clamp them up.
“I play with the same team and the same offense. It’s not hard. I just win … I’m a guru.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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