'I Feel Great'

Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic Defensive End Matt Kushner talks about his commitment to NC State.

Matt Kushner, a 6'4 255-pound defensive line prospect from Pennsylvania, visited NC State this past weekend and has committed to the Wolfpack.

"I feel great about my decision," Kushner told Pack Pride. "NC State's a great place to be, and I'm happy to play for a program like that.

"I went down there for my visit and felt real comfortable," he added. "[John] Bedics was my host, and he showed me around the campus. It was what I was looking for."

Bedics, a red-shirt freshman defensive lineman at NC State, played with Kushner in 2003 at Bethlehem Catholic High School before committing to the Wolfpack. Jumbo athlete Kyle Newell, the nation's #11 defensive end prospect in the country according to Scout.com, has also committed to NC State this year from Bethlehem Catholic.

Did Newell's decision to attend NC State and the fact that Bedics is already in Raleigh factor into Kushner's decision?

"NC State was a place I've been looking at for a while, but it was a bonus that Bedics is there and Kyle is going there," he said. "Plus, they just have strong ties to my school. Coach Amato is from the area, and coach Williams coached my coach at West Virginia. It was just the best decision for me."

Much like Bedics, Kushner commits to NC State without much fanfare, as he didn't receive the recruiting hype of his teammate, Kyle Newell. That didn't stop Kushner from having a monster senior season, as he tallied 114 tackles (65 solos), 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, and a blocked punt.

"He had a tremendous year," Bethlehem Catholic assistant coach Dan Kendra said. "What Matt has going for him is he's so athletic and has a great frame. Here's a kid that can run a legitimate 4.7 at 250-255 pounds. The thing about him is he has a frame to be a 300-pound kid.

"He is also a good basketball player, and he has the footwork you're looking fo. That's why I think with his frame and footwork, he'd be a great pulling offensive guard on the next level.

"NC State will look at him defensively, but he has the kind of feet to be an outstanding pass protector."

NC State head coach Chuck Amato was impressed with Kushner's senior film, and after seeing his athleticism on the hardwood, the Wolfpack offered a scholarship.

"I really like coach Amato," Kushner said. "He told me that he was very surprised when they saw me, and that he couldn't believe no one had heard of me. He said I can definitely play at that level, and it felt great knowing he believed that.

"We also talked about where I'm going to play. I think NC State wants to start me out at [defensive] end, but I could end up inside at [defensive] tackle. It just depends on how much weight I gain."

NC State had to withstand a late charge from Boston College to secure a verbal commitment from the Pennsylvania standout.

"Boston College was the main one that came through and offered," Kushner said. "They actually offered me officially the night before my visit to NC State. They wanted me to go there instead, but I didn't do it."

As a senior, Kushner garnered all-area and all-state honors. He has also been nominated to play in the annual Big 33 Football Classic, which features the top high school seniors from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

#77 Matt Kushner


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