Any time you make a coaching change in the midst of recruiting season there are bound to be some names of new prospects that appear out of nowhere. Such is the case with linebacker Curtiz Mathis, who played his prep football at Thornton Township in Harvey, Illinois. Mathis inked with Iowa State on National Signing Day. Along with his high school coach, William Mosel, he talked to Cyclone Nation about why chose ISU.
Cyclone Nation: So why did you become a Cyclone?
Mathis: I became a Cyclone because I liked the coaching staff and I was very comfortable on campus. When I visited it felt like home. I also liked the academics. I connected with all the coaches, especially (defensive coordinator) Wayne Bolt. James Smith hosted me on my visit.
Cyclone Nation: How did you first hear about ISU?
Mathis: I learned about Iowa State University from my high school football coach and friends at my mother's job. Then on the 12th of January I made my official visit.
Cyclone Nation: What excites you the most about being a Cyclone?
Mathis: What excites me most about becoming a Cyclone are the fans, the community, and the pride. I did consider a number of other Division I programs including Nebraska, Ball State, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan State, and Arizona State.
Cyclone Nation: What are some of Curtiz's best attributes as a player?
Mosel: Curtiz is a very intelligent player on the field. He has tremendous athletic ability, good hips and great feet. He is a very active linebacker who possesses great foot speed and the ability to finish plays.
Cyclone Nation: What will he need to work on at the college level?
Mosel: He needs to continue working on his strength, but he has the desire and skills to be a great player at the Division I-A level. This isn't new for us, and in the 21 years I've coached here we've produced over 80 Division I-A players, including several guys who played in the NFL. We've had guys like Antwaan Randle-EL, Napoleon Harris, Barry Gardener, Jermaine Hampton, Tai Streets, Jack Golden, Winfield Garnett, and Sammy Williams. Our current college football players include: Craig Wilson, Marcus Randle-EL, Terrence Jamison, and Tim Jamison.
Cyclone Nation: Beyond his physical capabilities, what intangibles did you appreciate the most as Curtiz's coach?
Mosel: He was a leader on and off the field. He was a physical player on the field but also understood being a gentleman off the field. He is definitely someone the younger players all looked up to.
Mathis will major in criminal justice at ISU. He was all-state, all-conference, and a finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman in Illinois.