NCF On The Trail: Joe Mathis

Signing day primer: Washington 

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: For the 2013 recruiting class, the Huskies tried to add talent throughout their roster. They had specific needs but wanted to bolster strengths as well.

Some of the key areas the Huskies identified as positions to pursue included receiver, running back, linebacker and defensive line. With six defensive linemen committed and three receivers heading to Seattle next season, Washington has stockpiled prospects at each position.

Help is on the way: Washington is pursuing a pass rush. The Huskies have a star in Danny Shelton, but ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi made it a point to bring in top-tier talent along the program’s defensive line.

Weekly Commitment Update 

January, 11, 2013
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ACC
Clemson
Ebenezer Ogundeko DE Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson
HT: 6-3 WT: 229
Position Rank: #10 DE

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Washington’s weekend recruiting haul spilled into Monday when Jermaine Kelly (Los Angeles/Salesian) gave the Huskies a verbal commitment.

“I felt like this was the place I should be,” Kelly said. “I’ve always had love for Washington. I felt like I had to be there. I had to be at that school. It’s just the right choice for me.”

The 6-foot-1, 171-pound cornerback is the third prospect to join the program’s 2013 class in four days, joining receiver John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan) and defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland).

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Washington added another commitment this weekend to their improving defense. Already holding verbals from defensive line prospects like athletic and active D-Tackle Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) and promising D-End Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster), they have now gained Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) to the mix.

Listed as defensive end, Mathis is a bit off a ‘tweener as he is a bigger, thickly built kid especially through his lower body. He could initially add depth at the weak end spot behind Andrew Hudson while potentially developing more into that strong defensive end spot in their scheme. The four-star is a tough, active player in the trenches who flashes a nice initial burst off the ball. He needs to keep developing aspects of his game, but as he continues to blend more consistent technique with his motor he can be a productive player in the trenches defending the run as well as pressuring the quarterback.

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After all of his success bringing top-tier prospects to Cal and now Washington, Tosh Lupoi has earned his reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters.


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Army Bowl: Joe Mathis chooses UW

January, 5, 2013
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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 300 defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) once thought he’d be a star basketball player. Even before then, he wondered if he’d be around to see an event like the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Mathis on Thursday reflected on life decisions made during his earlier years in high schools. He never thought two years later, he’d be announcing where he would play college football on national television. On Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound end verbally committed to Washington.

Mathis chose the Huskies over offers from USC, UCLA and Alabama. He is No. 251 in the ESPN 300 and the No. 22 defensive end.

“God blessed me with something I didn’t know I had,” Mathis said. “My life wasn’t headed the right way. Freshman and sophomore year, I was doing the stuff I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I finally changed it around.

“I thought I was going to be a basketball player, but I’m really happy I went this way.”

In addition to being a standout defensive end, Mathis also is a four-year varsity basketball forward. He said once he stopped growing, he began to lift weights and focus more on football.

“Best decision I ever made,” Mathis said.
SAN ANTONIO -- In recruiting, players can hate the process one day, love it the next.

ESPN 300 defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) has seen both sides, but is looking to make the process a past discussion.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mathis
Damon Sayles/ESPNESPN 300 DE Joe Mathis is expected to commit on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Mathis is one of seven players expected to announce where they’ll play college football during Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. While many feel he’s leaning toward one school, Mathis said he’s eyed four schools fairly evenly.

“Truthfully, I really like Alabama, USC, UCLA and Washington,” Mathis said. “They’re like all even. Everybody thinks Washington is in front, but I really like them all.”

Mathis said many feel he’s a Washington lean because of his recent official visit to Seattle and the campus. He left the trip wearing a Washington beanie, but not because of what some fans believe.

“I took an official up there, and I left my hat because it’s cold up north, so I got a nice beanie,” Mathis said. “Since then, people think I’m Washington.”

Mathis, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound end, has an idea of which school he wants to choose, but he said he will take his decision all the way to the morning of the game -- possibly even through his scheduled time to announce.

“It’s going to be a hard decision,” he said. “I mean, it’s the next four years of my life.”

Mathis said he is being recruited by offensive line coach James Cregg (USC), secondary coach Demetrice Martin (UCLA), defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (Washington) and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (Alabama).

Newsmaker: ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) and ESPN 150 quarterback Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) arrived in San Antonio around lunchtime on Thursday. However, neither player will play in the game per bowl officials.

North (6-3, 210) is the No. 12 receiver and No. 133 player overall. There have been whispers that he could announce at the game. He has taken official visits to Florida (Oct. 5) and Tennessee (Oct. 19). North also has offers from Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and others.

There have also been whispers that Woulard (6-3, 205), the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country, could also announce. Woulard took an official visit to NC State on Nov. 9. In addition to the Wolfpack, he also has offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Pitt, South Florida, Syracuse, among others.

Notable: Alabama commitment Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton) didn’t think he would make the trip to San Antonio because of a pre-existing knee injury. However, he decided to fly in Thursday and will be at Saturday’ game but will not play. … After a shortened afternoon practice for the West, ESPN 150 quarterback Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) and three-star wide receiver Corey Robinson (San Antonio/San Antonio Christian) were spotted getting some extra work in by running routes. Browne, a December high school graduate, has signed his scholarship papers to USC, while Robinson, the son of NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, is committed to Notre Dame. … Top-rated offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) didn’t participate in much of practice because of illness. Tunsil, who suits up for the East, is expected to be ready for the game.


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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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Recruiting Rewind: West 

November, 19, 2012
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It was a big weekend for UCLA on the field and on the recruiting trail.

The Bruins earned a big win over the USC Trojans on Saturday, and collected two verbal commitments over the weekend as well. The 2013 class added another terrific athlete in Darren Andrews (La Puente, Calif./Bishop Amat) who decommitted from Duke before giving his pledge to the UCLA staff. And the 2014 class saw its first member, with the commitment of wide receiver Jeff Farrar (Upland, Calif./Upland). Things could have hardly gone better for the Bruins, as they made a strong impression on many uncommitted ESPN 300 standouts, including safety Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza), safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), cornerback Johnny Johnson (Fresno, Calif./Central) and defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland). Goodman and his mother met at length with the UCLA coaches on Sunday, and the Bruins will have a chance to close very strong with the defensive backfield in this class.

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The first time wide receiver X'avier Shepherd (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) stepped onto the Utah campus, he pulled the trigger on a commitment. The second time -- this past weekend for his official visit -- he firmed up an already-firm pledge.

Shepherd
Shepherd
"I'm a strong commit to Utah," Shepherd said. "When I say I'm going to do something, I keep my word, especially if I firmly believe in it. This is something that I believe will be the best for me. I hope other recruits feel the same way I do, so we can get some more great players up there. But as for me, I'm loving Utah, and I'm strongly committed."

Shepherd had an opportunity to meet several players on the team he didn't get to meet on his last trip, and he had a chance to spend plenty of time with passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick. But the biggest thing he'll take from the trip was his experience during Utah's big win over California.

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Four-star defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) is one of the more sought-after uncommitted defensive prospects in the West, and the 6-foot-4, 255-pound standout will give two schools a chance to make a big impression in the coming weekends.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mathis
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJoe Mathis will take an official visit to USC this weekend for the Washington game.
Mathis originally committed to Washington during his junior season, but pulled back on his commitment shortly afterward. Now, with the Huskies still in pursuit, he plans to take an official visit this weekend when they host the USC Trojans. It will be the first official visit for Mathis.

"I want to see if I like it there and if it feels like family, if I can relate with the players and have a good time," Mathis said. "I want to see if it feels like I can stay there for four years."

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DE Joe Mathis has visits in mind 

August, 28, 2012
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UPLAND, Calif. -- Defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) didn’t shy away from competition this offseason, even though he might have had a reason to. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman said he fractured a bone in his foot back in April, but pushed through the injury this summer and took part in several camps.

“Eventually, I had to stay off of it for three weeks, ice it and all that,” Mathis said. “It was pretty painful to play with that. I played on it and made it worse, but I’m back now.”

Mathis is back in several ways. After getting up to 270 pounds, Mathis put in some serious work this summer.

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The 2012 B2G Elite Camp will kick off on June 29 and the roster of attendees makes it a must-see event for any recruiting fan.

Held at Cal Lutheran University, the camp features three days of training, meetings and film study for 85 top athletes. Camp attendees are also given a glimpse into the academic requirements at the next level.

B2G has produced plenty of big time defensive backs over the years, and that pedigree combined with how loaded the 2013 West region recruiting class is with safeties and cornerbacks makes it no surprise that the roster is stacked at those two positions.

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Invitations to The Opening are still being delivered to players across the country, but here is a look at the recruits in the West region who have already received their invites to the showcase event in early July.

Thus far, 24 recruits from the West have been invited, representing Hawaii, Washington, California, Arizona and Utah. Every non-special teams position is represented.

The list starts with the quarterbacks, in the nation's No. 12 player Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) and No. 62 player Cooper Bateman (Salt Lake City/Cottonwood). Browne is committed to USC, while Bateman has pledged to Alabama.

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It has been an exciting few days for wide receiver Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Tex./West Mesquite). After earning an offer from USC and committing to the Trojans late last week, Massington received an invitation to Nike's The Opening Monday evening.

Massington is the 63rd player added to the event and he joins cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) as USC commits who will be on hand in Beaverton, Ore. from July 5-8.

Hawkins and Massington will certainly brush up on their recruiting pitches during the event, as at least two dozen players scheduled to attend already hold USC offers.

That list includes linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa/Wharton), defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), offensive tackle Shamire Devine (East Point, Ga./Tri Cities), defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) and safeties Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza), Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and Marcell Harris (Orlando/Dr. Phillips).

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