Mathis Announces Top 5

Both the SEC and the Pac-12 will be anxious to hear the commitment plans of Joe Mathis on January 5. The Upland defensive end opened up with information regarding his decision at Visalia's Cal State Game this past Saturday.

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 freshman."

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 recruiting circles.

David Lombardi covers recruiting for FOX Sports Next. Check him out at Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMLombardi.

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