VISALIA, CA -- Coveted defensive end Joe Mathis is soaking in the final weeks of his high-profile recruitment. The four-star Upland, CA prospect narrowed his recruitment list to five schools following his South team's 19-14 victory in the Cal State Game.
Alabama, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, and Washington are the finalists for
the six-foot-four, 255-pound stud whose "closing speed is as good as
anyone you'll see at this level," per FOX Sports Next's scouting
report. Mathis reported he will announce his decision at the January
5 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
"It's a toss-up right now," he said. "The main factor is which
school will give me the most playing time next year, as a true
Mathis said that Texas A&M and Alabama, the two SEC schools on his
final list, want him to move to the middle linebacker position. The
Pac-12 crop of UCLA, USC, and Washington sees him as a stand-up
defensive end in their systems. Obviously, a linebacker spot would
call for more pass coverage duties, but Mathis is confident he has
the athleticism to perform in that position if called to do so.
At Saturday's Cal State game, he teamed with UCLA defensive tackle
commit Kenneth Clark to spearhead a stout South defensive line in
conditions better for mud wrestling than the game of football.
"It was almost impossible to keep good footing," he said. "But it
was fun in the mud."
Now, Mathis will attempt to enjoy the potentially stressful
assignment of picking a school out of an attractive list of suitors.
His January 5 announcement will certainly be closely watched in
David Lombardi covers
recruiting for FOX Sports Next. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMLombardi.