DE McKenzie Mathews has U-M in Top Three

There are a couple of things regarding defensive end McKenzie Mathews in which Michigan fans will take interest. One of them is the placement of the Wolverines on his list of favorites, the other involves some of his friends. spoke with Mathews on Thursday, who said he is gearing up for his season while taking the recruiting game in stride.

Defensive end McKenzie Mathews of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., said he doesn't really have a favorite, basically listing a top ten of the colleges that have offered him a scholarship to play football. Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Syracuse, Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Stanford are those schools. However, "Michigan is definitely in my top three," he added, "Along with Ohio State and Pittsburgh."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Mathews said that while all the schools are recruiting at the defensive end position, "I'm not going to argue with the coaches if they decide to move me to the outside linebacker position."

When speaking with anyone involved with football in the Syracuse area, the topic of a certain Michigan runner almost invariably comes up. Such was the case when talking with Mathews. "I guess you could say Mike Hart and an okay year," Mathews said, laughing. "1,200 yards as a freshman at Michigan is a pretty decent start, but I could do better in his shoes."

The smack talk is among friends with Mathews, as he is more familiar with the Hart than just reading about Mike in the paper. "I work with his brother and used to lift with Mike," he said. He just called me the other day. I need to get his number (in Michigan) so I can call him back."

Mathews said he is in no hurry to get his recruiting over with. He said that while at times it is a nuisance with all the calls and attention, he wouldn't miss it for the world. He is also focusing on his season, which opens on Sept. 2 at Corcoran. "We have a scrimmage this Saturday," he said. "I've been really busy with getting ready for the season and practicing that I haven't had time to map out which visits I'm going to take."

Mathews said that while he is getting a lot of pressure from the local folks to stay close to home, his parents are leaving the decision up to him. "They don't want me coming back to them later and blaming them for making the wrong decision," he said. "Besides, I didn't grow up a fan of SU football anyway. I wanted to be different than everyone else. I was a big Nebraska fan as a kid; they were always good then." The Huskers don't seem to be returning the love, as Mathews said he hasn't heard from them.

Christian Brothers is coming off a perfect 2004 season, culminating with a 41-35 victory over New Rochelle in the Section 3, Class AA1 State Finals. The final game was the closest margin of victory all season for the Brothers, who outscored opponents 611 - 197. Mathews recorded 45 tackles, including 10 for loss, and 12.5 sacks, during the championship season. He said he would like to major in accounting.

Note: GBW expects a U-M offer to be solidified in the future.

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