Shrine Bowl Spotlight: R.J. Mattes

ROEBUCK, S.C. --- In Saturday's Shrine Bowl, North Carolina's offensive line figures to be anchored by R.J. Mattes, a 6-foot-6, 260-pounder from Concord (N.C.) Robinson.

"They got me at left tackle right now," Mattes said. "Sometimes I might flip over to right tackle. They call [the group I'm in] the ‘A group,' so hopefully that means we're the starters. That would be awesome to start the Shrine Bowl."

North Carolina's offensive line is made up of seniors hailing as far east as Wilmington and as far west as Murphy. So the linemen will spend much of this week gelling and learning the playbook.

"Basically we're just going through all these plays trying to cram the playbook down our throat in a week," Mattes said. "It's kind of hard trying to learn this many plays in a week, but hopefully we'll get it done and beat South Carolina."

The South Carolina squad boasts a very talented defensive line headlined by Daquan Bowers, who is the top-ranked defensive end in the nation. Mattes is up for the challenge.

"Basically, it will show me how good I am," Mattes said. "I haven't really gone against that good of linemen in my conference or league."

Mattes will also handle the long snapping duties for NC.

Staying in Spartanburg this week has provided Mattes with a much needed break from the chaos of recruiting.

"Every coach has come by and seen me at my school once a week [since the contact period began]," Mattes said. "I've had two home visits with Clemson and Virginia coming by."

Sam Pittman, who is handling Mattes' recruitment for North Carolina, has yet to have an in-home visit with Mattes. However, the communication line between the two is constantly flowing as they speak often.

"Me and him just joke around a lot," Mattes said. "[We] don't talk about football sometimes; just talk about our lives and just getting a good relationship with him."

Despite finding himself in the middle of his official visits schedule, Mattes isn't claiming a leader.

"Really, I've got to take two more official visits to Clemson and South Carolina in January and then after that I'll come out and pick which school I want to go to," said Mattes, who has already visited UNC, NC State, and Virginia. "I don't really [have a leader], because I've enjoyed every official visit. I just want to take the last two to see which one I enjoyed the best."

Regardless, UNC is in good standing heading into the final stretch of his recruitment.

"They stand real good with me," Mattes said. "I really enjoy Coach Pittman and Coach [Butch] Davis."

R.J. Mattes Profile

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