One of Virginia's top overall targets for the 2008 class will be in Charlottesville this weekend on an official visit. R.J. Mattes, a 6-7, 285-pound offensive tackle out of Robinson High School (Concord, N.C.), will head to Charlottesville early Saturday morning and return home late Sunday afternoon. Virginia will be the first of five official visits Mattes plans to take before coming to a decision.
The 4-star senior has visited Virginia many, many times, as he grew up a Virginia fan. His father, Ron Mattes, played football for the Cavaliers in the early 80s.
"I've been to UVa a bazillion times before, so it will not be brand new," said Mattes, whose most recent visit to Virginia was for camp this summer. "I want to hang out with the players and see how the program is run. I want to see in depth what they do and get a better relationship with the players. That is what will really help me in my decision."
Virginia was the first school to extend an official offer and the staff has kept up the recruiting intensity throughout. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh serves as the primary recruiter.
"Usually, I talk to Mike Groh. He calls once a week," Mattes said. "Al Groh will call once in a while, too. They definitely know who I am. I'm not just another recruit to them. We talk a lot and sometimes we just joke around on the phone."
Mattes' final five includes Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Virginia. He has taken notice of the early season success of Clemson, South Carolina and Virginia, but he adds that how each team fares this season will not have a huge influence on his final decision.
"Wins and losses mean nothing," Mattes said. "I'm just looking at how much the team improves. With N.C. State and UNC, they have brand new coaches with brand new schemes and the adjustment period for the players is tough. I'll just see how each team progresses. Watching how Virginia and Clemson are playing this season is a great plus, but wins and losses do not mean everything."
All five coaching staffs have done a good job recruiting the talented lineman.
"Every coach sends out letters and calls me," Mattes said. "They are all basically the same. No team is recruiting me harder than the others."
Besides this weekend's trip to Virginia, Mattes has also set an official visit to UNC for the weekend of December 1st. He is not sure when the other three visits will take place. He has made three unofficial visits so far this season - to Clemson for the game versus Florida State, N.C. State for the game against Central Florida and to UNC for its game against Virginia.
Robinson is 3-2 on the season but is coming off a big win last week heading into this week's important contest versus Vance. Mattes had a big outing in last week's victory, performing well at offensive tackle and tallying three sacks at defensive end. He feels he has played very well at offensive tackle this season and looks forward to more success.
"This is a whole new different deal," Mattes said of his performance this season. "Everything is coming so natural to me. I really hit the weight room and I'm 285 pounds now. It is so much easier now. Guys seem weaker because I've gotten stronger. Playing basketball helped me keep my footwork and I've put on good weight, so my speed hasn't been affected."