College football recruiting is different for every prospect from when they are identified, when they pick up steam, even to when they are able to make visits to college campuses. Four-star Monroe (La.) Neville defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis has really picked up momentum in the last six months or so, adding offers from all over the country. But the part of the process he is still very new to is taking college visits. He has been to several campuses, but Saturday was his first game at a Power 5 program.
"This was my first college game, period, besides my hometown school ULM," he said. "It was live, I've never seen that big of a crowd, my ears were hurting all night. It was loud and really exciting.
"When I was at the 'Bama game I watched the D-line, they basically dominated to me."
The Crimson Tide envisions the senior as one of the top prospects at the position in the class of 2017 and many representing the school made it a point to speak to him on the unofficial visit.
"I met around with some of my former teammates from Neville, like Hootie Jones," he said. "He's a great athlete, he's stepping up in the role up there and he's telling me to stay humble and do what's best for me."
"It's big," Mathis said. "They're over there putting on for the boot (Louisiana), so it's kind of big for me."
Of course the Alabama coaches would spend considerable time with him both before and after the big win over the Aggies.
"I had good time to talk to coach Billy (Napier) about what a great opportunity that I have coming in and playing a big game and actually do a lot of things if I come in and do what I have to do," he said. "I talked to coach (Karl) Dunbar, he said the same things and he was excited to see me. I'm pretty much getting to know the guy. Every day we're talking, it's good communication."
It was time with the head coach, however, that put things into recruiting perspective for Mathis.
"I talked to Nick (Saban) also, I made it up there and he wanted me in his office," he said. "I felt special about that, sat down and talked to him about my grades and how everything is going in school. It's going pretty good right now. They make me feel so special, it's just the love that they show out there, every day, every other night. They make sure I'm doing good with myself, and all that, it means a lot to me.
"I can say that they probably are recruiting me more, they do a lot that other schools haven't done. I give 'Bama their props."
Still taking his time with the recruiting process, Mathis wants to continue to make game visits to learn more about some of the top programs after his verbal commitment and eventual signature.
"I just want to take official visits and see what else is out there," he said. "I'll think about setting one up (to Alabama) but I've been there a couple times so I may try to see places I haven't been. Like Miami (Fl), they just offered me. TCU, I may check them out, Georgia and maybe California.
"I'll be at LSU when they play 'Bama, I know that."
The blue-chip defender knows what he's looking for between the schools on his list.
"Just staying in touch with me and loyalty, telling me what I want to hear," he said. "I want to hear what I need to know, I want to make sure I'm good when I commit there and that I'm taken care of."
Mathis may pull the trigger in December, depending on how deep Neville's run in the Louisiana state playoffs becomes.
"It's going to be after our season, I'm going to commit after our season is over, most definitely," he said. "We've got two more games and we'll be rolling for the big one (state title)."null