Ryker Mathews makes official visit

Ryker Mathews will be enrolling at BYU this coming January and therefore took his official trip to campus this past weekend. Seeing BYU up close is something he's been able to do frequently, as he hails from nearby American Fork. His visit wasn't so much about finding out more about BYU, but just an exercise of enjoying the surroundings that he committed to this past summer.

"I absolutely love BYU and everything about BYU," said Ryker Mathews. "When I committed there, it was after I was 100 percent sure it was the place for me. Every time I'm there I just get it confirmed more and more that it's the right place for me."

Mathews is a 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound offensive line recruit from American Fork High School who was widely regarded not only as one of the top recruits in the state, but as one of the top offensive line recruits nationally. He decided to commit to BYU after being courted heavily by rival University of Utah.

He began his official trip Friday right before noon and immediately met with the dean of students, followed by a meeting with the lady in charge of scheduling. He then was able to observe practice before enjoying dinner at Ruby River Steakhouse.

He was hosted the first night by someone who he has come to know very well.

"Jake Heaps was my host the first night," informed Mathews. "It was great since I've become really good friends with him already, so we obviously got along great. It was also great meeting Preston Hadley, who will be coming in with me, and we just really had a great time."

Mathews has found a lot of things in common with Heaps. Like Heaps did before enrolling at BYU, Mathews will be participating in the Army All-American Bowl the first week of January, a game that features the top prospects nationally.

"It's a huge honor for me to participate in that bowl," he said. "I know that the competition will be tough and I'll probably get humbled a bit, but it will be great to represent the state of Utah there and to represent BYU well. I'm definitely excited for that."

He'll return from the Army All-American Bowl on January 8 and enroll at BYU on the 10th.

Mathews was hosted by Joshua Quezada on Saturday and got along great with him and the other players.

"Josh is a great kid and we had a lot of fun," he related. "We hung out and then played Smash Brothers and some Super Mario Kart later that night. Preston was bragging about how he was the best, so we had to make him prove it. He was really good and yeah, he did prove it."

Earlier in the day they had the opportunity to go snowmobiling, which is always a highlight of official trips to BYU. One person who normally forgoes such activities tagged along this time.

"Coach Mendenhall went with us," informed Mathews. "It was great having him there with us. We were out there for almost three hours and it was a blast. We had a ton of fun and me and Preston can't wait to get to BYU and get started."

While a lot of official trips are opportunities for recruits to finally see the school up close in an effort to reconfirm their commits, this was not the case for Mathews.

"I know BYU very well and when I committed back in August, that was it," he said. "I didn't make my decision lightly and like I said, I was 100 percent sure when I made my decision."

Few people, including Mathews, were aware of the mighty struggles BYU would endure at the beginning of this past season. While it could work to throw off some commits, this definitely wasn't the case with him.

"It was tough to watch them struggle, but I think a lot of the reason why they struggled so much is because we were a young team," he explained. "So it didn't surprise me when they turned it around. BYU has great coaches and it's exciting that I'll be joining such a young team. The future is very exciting for BYU and that is a big reason why I'm going there."

Mathews will play a full year and compete for a spot along the offensive line before then making a decision whether or not to serve a mission. He's excited to join the team in their first year of going independent and is confident that the scheduling will become a very exciting prospect in the coming years.

"I'm excited to play all over the country," he expressed. "It's a big thing for me to have that opportunity and I'll be excited to see what other schools they'll schedule in the future. They already have some great teams scheduled, which makes it exciting for me and the other guys coming in."

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