Back Kevin Maben: “Setting the Standard”

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Kevin Maben: “Setting the Standard”

By Barry Every
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The 6-foot, 215-pound inside linebacker led his team in total tackles and tackles for loss.

Columbus (Ga.) Shaw Football has fallen on hard times, posting just one winning season over the last 11 years. The last double digit win season occurred in 2007. This is the same program that captured a State Title in 2000 while making t trips to the State Semifinals in 2002 and2005.


Third year Head Coach Al Pellegrino is trying to change the mindset of Raider Nation but has managed just four wins in his first two seasons. That being said Shaw finished (3-7) last year after back-to-back (1-9) seasons. The 2019 season looks promising for the Raiders as they bring back a very talented and experienced squad.

One of the returning impact players will be senior inside linebacker Kevin Maben. The 6-foot, 215-pound inside linebacker led the Raiders in total tackles and tackles for loss. On the season he racked up 69 tackles, 14 TFL’s and five sacks. His on-the-field performance did not go unnoticed earning Second Team All-Region while being named Honorable Mention to the prestigious Columbus Ledger All Bi-City Team.

“Kevin is a great kid that leads by example and doesn’t miss class; He’s a great role model for other students,” Pellegrino said. “He is simply the kind of kid that coaches love to coach. I can’t say enough about him; he is from a great family and has great moral ethics. He’s the type of kid you want to surround yourself with on the field and in school and he is so very academically inclined.”

Maben currently holds a 3.5 core GPA and is awaiting the results of his first ACT. He is so determined to open up more doors with his academic prowess that he has already scheduled to take the ACT again in July. He also feels that after this semester his core GPA could reach the 3.7-range.

“What college coaches need to know about Kevin is he is the type of player that comes to practice every day and does what he is asked,” Pellegrino said. “He is a hard-nosed kid that could play other positions than inside linebacker. He is a team player that will play where he is asked and a high effort kid that never loafs. No matter where he is on the field he will be trying to make plays.”

Maben has yet to receive his first offer, but is receiving strong interest from Arkansas, Cornell, Jacksonville, Navy and Princeton. Every school showing interest is looking at him as a linebacker except Navy, who sees him as that fast pass rushing defensive end. He has already unofficially visited the Naval Academy and has future plans to visit Jacksonville.

“At the next level Kevin could be a hybrid linebacker/defensive end with his hand in the ground or standing up,” Pellegrino said. “I think that’s what Navy sees him as, but he could also be that A-B gap insider linebacker. Several mid-majors and FCS schools have shown interest but the Naval Academy is the school currently showing the most interest in his skillset.”

Last year he attended camps at Georgia Southern, Samford and the Champions Elite Camp in LaGrange. This year he has already made plans to attend camps at Auburn and the Mercer Mega Camp, additional stops to be determined at a later date.

With a strong camp season Maben could really see his stock skyrocket. He already has a more than desirable standing in the classroom. A solid test score will only boost his chances of gaining offers. There are several colleges looking for gridiron difference makers that also require much higher academic standards than the NCAA minimum.

“I know I have to keep working in the weight room and a high test score will surely help me get noticed,” Maben said.” “It wouldn’t hurt if we had a better season. I see any offer as an opportunity to play the game I love a blessing. It doesn’t matter to me what position I play; I’ll play anything to help the team as a whole.”

Having a winning season and making the playoffs are Maben’s short term goals. It’s not going to be easy in a nine team Region where only four teams earn GHSA playoff bids, especially with traditional powers Columbus (Ga.) Carver and Cairo (Ga.) being heavy favorites.

“We have the team speed, good chemistry and good talent so the season looks promising,” Maben said. “I just have to be that leader that inspires the younger players while being that wise football player that impacts the defensive side of the ball. We have to set standards as a team in order to have a better season.”

College coaches that would like to see this downhill, swing from the hips linebacker, get after it may want to attend a spring practice. Shaw practices from 4:00-6:30pm on May, 6 through May 10 and May 13 through May 16. Their Spring Game will take place at Carrollton (Ga.) Central on May, 17 with a start time of 7:00pm. There you will see Maben lifting offensive players out of their shoes.