Coach Speak: Mattox on Bowers

Saturday was a big day for Columbus (Ohio) Walnut Ridge head coach Byron Mattox as one of his players, Robert Bowers, made their verbal commitment to Michigan State. Spartan Digest spoke with Mattox about Bowers.

Saturday's news that Columbus (Ohio) Walnut Ridge defensive end Robert Bowers gave Michigan State his pledge was no surprise to head coach Byron Mattox.

"I'm glad Robert made a decision," said the head coach. "I feel he made a good choice as I've only heard great things about head coach Mark Dantonio, especially from guys who played for him over the years." As for what Spartan fans should expect out of Bowers in the future, Mattox knows the future is extremely bright on and off the field.

"Robert is a good quality individual and well respected among his peers and the staff at the schools," said Mattox. "He's a good solid kid who is a solid student with over a 3.0 GPA.

"On the field Robert is a high motor guy who plays with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball.

"I would say that is his main asset as a lot of kids you see will get blocked and kind of shut it down a little bit. But Robert keeps coming and keeps playing. He's a snap to whistle guy.

"I think Michigan State will put some good size on him and he'll be a defensive player. I think he'll have his hand down playing defensive end. I think once they get his body to where they want it to be and he learns the system, he'll be an impact kind of player."

While Bowers has told several in recent reports he stands 6-foot-6, Mattox laughs while setting the record straight.

"I saw some of that today and I'm not sure where that is coming from," he said. "But I would say Robert is just about 6-foot-5."

While some may have Bowers under the radar, Mattox said outside of a few programs everyone else had high interest in Bowers.

"Outside of Michigan and Ohio State most of the bigger schools in the Midwest had offered him," said Mattox. "So he had a good number of programs to choose from."

Excited about his player's future, Mattox knows he's already watched Bowers play his final high school game.

"Robert will be out for the year as he had shoulder surgery this summer," said Mattox. "We don't know for sure how he hurt it as it was off and on last season and he'd go to the trainer when it hurt. But he started playing basketball and it got better. Then in summer league he did something to it and he finally went up to Ohio State and two weeks later he was having surgery.

"Everything looks good and we told all the schools and they said they were still in. Robert said he'd get on the phone with Coach Dantonio and be on the phone with him for over an hour. So he would tell me how surprised he was at that and how they still wanted him. So I feel he's been leaning that way for awhile."

While Bowers may have already given his pledge to the Spartans, Mattox has another player in Anthony McKee who is already getting major interest and could be another target for the Spartans in the class of 2015.


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