B.J. Mathis, Texas' Top Return Man, Commits to Y

The testimony of Jim Ledford, a veteran Texas high school coach who helped develop eight NFL players, carries some weight: "I've coached football for 21 years here in Texas and I've never seen a player more explosive than…"

B.J. Mathis, Texas' 5A First-Team, All-State kick returner from Berkner High School (Richardson, Tex.), verbally committed today to BYU head coach b> and assistant Todd Bradford.

"He's incredible in the open field and is a definite threat to break it for a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He's a bit small, but that shouldn't hold him back. I have little doubt he'll be a success at the next level. He's a great kid and a phenomenal athlete."

As a First-Team All-District 9-5A running back, Mathis had 112 rushes for 1,004 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Mathis joins teammate Karland Bennett that pulled the trigger last Saturday and committed to BYU during his official visit to Provo. Bennett, a 6-1, 205 pound All-District middle linebacker, led his team in tackles and received scholarship offers from Tulsa, Arkansas, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Wyoming.

Mathis spoke today about his commitment to the Cougar coaches: "It feels great. I went up there (Provo) and kind of knew it was the place for me. Karland committing definitely helped. We're very good friends and playing with him and attending school with him is going to be good." Mathis received offers from Tulsa and Southern Methodist.

Though recruited as a slot receiver by BYU, "my thing is returning kicks," Mathis said. "That's where I'm best. That's where the coaches are telling me I will contribute my first year. They're definitely going to give me an opportunity to do it. How well I do in practice will determine how often I get to do it," he added.

What separates Mathis from all others in football-rich Texas is "my great vision in the open field. I really have a good feel for where I need to go when returning kicks. I'm very fast in the open field and can outrun just about anyone."

His veteran coach noted that "teams wouldn't even kick to him later on in the season. He's so explosive that they didn't dare to – and I can't say that I blame them. He's incredible in the open field."

Mathis runs a 4.34/40 and is a diminutive 5-7, 170 pound powerhouse return specialist. "I'm fast right now, but I want to get even faster. I need to get a bit stronger as well. I want to be as ready as possible when I report to the team because I aim to contribute this coming season. I know that I can and I know that I'll have that chance."

Why BYU? "I loved everything on my trip – the facilities, players and coaches. I also loved snowmobiling; that was a blast. It was my first time being in snow and I definitely loved that."

Mathis plans to major in education and be a high school football coach in the future. But there are other roads he wants to travel before settling into a coaching career. "I want to play in the league, of course. You know, the NFL. That's my main goal, but you have to prepare beyond football."

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