Hometown: Logandale, NV
Moapa is one of the most successful high school football programs in Southern Nevada's I-A Sunset Division, posting a 34-6 record the past 3 seasons. McDermand was awarded lineman of the year his senior season and was a two-time all-division, all-league and all-state selection.
Mat is one of 3 players from the state of Nevada and the only prospect from Southern Nevada in the Wolf Pack's 2014 recruiting class. He joins 3 other offensive linemen in the 2014 class and was recruited primarily by Mike Bradeson and Ron Hudson.
McDermand's skill and dominance on the line of scrimmage are on display in his outstanding highlight video from his senior year.
On Signing Day, Coach Brian Polian said of McDermand, "Mat is very important to us not only because he makes us better in the front, but he is also an in-state prospect and it is pivotal we win recruiting battles in Nevada. Mat is physical but also very light on his feet for a big man and should be a very good addition to our offensive front."
"Mat is physical but also very light on his feet for a big man and should be a very good addition to our offensive front."
In preparation for Fall camp at Nevada McDermand has been lifting, running, boxing and practicing the martial art jiu-jitsu. The interaction between offensive and defensive lineman on each and every play is a mixed martial arts battle unto itself and McDermand says the boxing and jiu-jitsu, a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting, help him with his hand and foot speed as well as training him to think on his feet.
In addition to football, he throws shot put, discus and even ran on a "big man" 400 meter relay team in track and field. But his first love has always been football since he began playing it in the 5th grade.
"I love the game of football." His most satisfying moments on the field have been "...those match ups where everyone has been talking up some player as the best and you go out there and knock them on their butt right from the start. Those are the moments that stick with you and make you smile to yourself."
Being a football player in Logandale, an hour North of Las Vegas, on the edge of the Valley of Fire, is no picnic. Fall camp is "character building", held during a time when the temperatures regularly top 105 degrees and it's not uncommon to hit 110. The vast majority of Moapa's opponents are down South in Las Vegas proper, so every away game is a 30 minute to 2 hour bus ride to and from.
"Mat's a great student and a great athlete. I think Nevada is getting a real hidden gem that really didn't get a lot of exposure down here for us. But I think he has great potential and could end up being a really good player for the Wolf Pack." - Moapa Valley head football coach Brent Lewis.
His official visit wowed McDermand but it was his attendance at last year's home game against San Jose State that sold him.
"It was cold but a lot of fun and such a great atmosphere. I loved the campus! The trees, the grass, the buildings, and just a great location."
Mat is a superb student, holding a 3.8 GPA and a member of the National Honor Society. He plans to redshirt his freshman year while he adjusts to college and get ready to play.
"It gives me an extra year of school, that year helps me to get up to where I need to be before I need to go and play."
McDermand reports to Nevada on June 24th where he will begin a yearly habit of attending Summer school. In a season or 2, if all goes as expected, he will take his place along the line of Nevada's storied offensive line, "The Union."
Neil Henderson can be reached via Twitter.