Hemlock Tackle on Spartan Radar

Zach Matthias is hearing from many of the major Midwestern schools and looks to impress programs over the summer at various camps. Read on to find out what the offensive tackle prospect will be working on in the offseason and when he plans to visit MSU.

Zach Matthias should have a handful of scholarship offers from BCS schools before things are all said and done for the class of 2009.

Although no offers have been extended yet, Matthias expects his performance and demeanor at camps through the summer and on the field at Hemlock High School next fall to convince college coaches he's the real deal.

Right now, recruiting for the 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive tackle prospect consists primarily of mail and invites to Junior Days and summer camps. Matthias says he has recently been to Junior Days at Notre Dame, Northwestern and Purdue and plans on attending one at Michigan State within the next two weeks. In addition to those and other Big Ten teams, he says MAC schools are also keeping his mailbox full.

"I like Michigan State, it's a good college," he says of the Green and White. "I like the coaches."

On the field, Matthias says there's never a dull moment at his position, where competition is often at its fiercest. "I like the offensive line because it's right up front where all the action is," he says. "It's where you really get to go one-on-one with the guy across from you and see if you're better than him."

Although he excels at both of the general duties of an O-lineman — run and pass blocking — Matthias says it's the pass block he feels most comfortable with.

"I would say I enjoy pass blocking more," he says. "I would say it's my strong point." Matthias then quickly added, "But I'm just as comfortable with run blocking." Part of the comfort level he feels keeping his quarterback safe stems from the spread offense Hemlock deploys.

For Matthias, brawn is important: He can bench press 225-pounds 14 times, maxes out at 300, and squats 500 pounds. "I'm big on legs," he says. "Leg strength is real important on the offensive line because you can all the arm strength in the world, but if you get on a guy and you can not get your legs driving out of the hole, then your basically useless as an offensive lineman."

But he's focused on other skills as well, namely speed. He says he lifts weights "three or four days a week, and I do speed training along with that." Matthias reports his best 40-yard dash time as 5.15.

He says "speed and quickness at the point of attack" are vital in the trenches where an offensive lineman must control the initial moments after a snap to be successful. "That's what I'm mostly working on right now."

To do that, he does ladder drills, runs and re-runs 40s and shuttles, and applies plyometrics to his training regimen. Plyometrics is a form of exercising that encourages the development of muscles to have the capacity to deliver rapid, explosive movements of the body. Athletes such as wrestlers, boxers and offensive lineman covet the ability to deliver a powerful wallop quickly.

GSN will continue to follow the development and recruitment of Matthias and other top 2009 O-line prospects; stay tuned for updates.

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