A first team All-Conference selection and a second team All-State selection at center during his senior season at East Pennsboro (PA) High School, Couch's college decision ultimately came between the Naval Academy and West Point. Citing Navy's continued success against Army as well as the stability of the coaching staff as giving Navy a leg up on their rivals from the Hudson, Coach ended his recruitment last February when he signed on to be a future Midshipmen. An athletic offensive lineman who has the bulk to match up against odd man front and the speed to get to the second level of defenses, Couch hopes to one day become a Naval or Marine Corps aviator. I caught up with Matt recently, and found out his plans for the upcoming season.
Adam Nettina (AN): Have you met any of your future Navy football teammates yet? If so, what are your impressions of this year's recruiting class?
Matt Couch (MC): I met [slotback] John Howell and [quarterback] Jarvis Cummings at a spring scrimmage and several others at the spring game. My impression of this year's class is that Navy recruited good athletes with high character. After visiting schools and meeting many different players, I can tell you that this class reflects the standard Navy wants.
AN: How was your official visit to the Academy? Which current (or past) Navy football players did you meet? How influential was that visit in your decision to attend Navy?
MC: I had been to the Naval Academy several times during my recruiting process. I was at the spring game during my junior year when Navy offered me. I went to the Rutgers and the Notre Dame games and had met many of the current players on those visits. I knew before my official visit that Navy was my choice but I needed to just make sure. After spending time with Coach Pehrson and Coach Ingram, I committed to Coach Niumatalolo in his office.
AN: I know you also had a scholarship offer from Army coming out of high school. Were Army and Navy your only scholarship offers? What made Navy the choice for you over an institution like West Point?
MC: I had a lot of recruiting activity but after going to the Army-Navy game as a guest of Army, I knew at that point that I wanted to go to either Army or Navy and other schools stopped recruiting me. The decision between Navy and Army came down to Navy's consistent success on the field, and also less turnover on the coaching staff.
AN: Tell me about the offense you played in at East Pennsboro. What were the blocking schemes like? Have you noticed any similarities between the offense you ran in high school and Navy's triple option?
MC: East Pennsboro ran a Wing-T, which is a simplified version of Navy's triple option. The blocking schemes were similar but some blocking techniques were different. I would assume my transition period to Navy's offense will not be too difficult.
AN: Did Navy recruit you primarily at center, or does the option exist in moving you to other positions along the offensive or even defensive lines?
MC: The coaches have told me that they will try me at center first. They feel I'm flexible enough to be moved to other line positions though. I long snapped in high school so they emphasized the need for me to work on that skill before I report.
AN: It takes a special kind of player to play center at Navy. Often time a center in the triple option will have to be big and physical enough to take on a nose guard head-to-head against odd man fronts, but at the same time be quick and athletic enough to get to the second level and cut linebackers against even front defenses. Do you think you have that kind of versatility?
MC: I am fortunate in having good feet and hips and getting to the second level has never been a problem for me. My current size is 6'3" and 282 lbs and I feel going through Navy's strength and conditioning program will definitely prepare me for the physicality of center blocking.
AN: Superprep.com ranked you as the 14th best center prospect in the country. What does it mean to you to receive such high praise from a recruiting service like that?
MC: It is an honor to be recognized by a recruiting service for your high school abilities. I went to several prestigious "invite-only" camps and did very well against other highly ranked players. However, high school is where it ended and it means nothing at the Naval Academy.
AN: What are you looking forward to most about playing football at Navy?
MC: I am looking forward to the brotherhood that I hear all the players talking about. But also I am looking forward to traveling and playing some of the best teams in the country at great venues.
AN: Do you know what you want to major in at the Academy? Any ideas as to what post-graduate Service Selection you would be interested in getting into?
MC: Currently, there are several majors I am interested in but I haven't made any decisions. After graduation I want to become a pilot and fly F-18 Super Hornets.
AN: Finish the sentence. The one thing Navy fans should know about me is…
MC: I am a hard worker and will do everything it takes to accomplish my goals at the Naval Academy.
Adam Nettina welcomes reader comments and questions. He can be reached at AdamNettina[at]gmail.com