"Andre is a physical specimen. I wish he was maybe an inch taller but he's about 6-2, 230 and he's serious about the weight room," said Cathedral Preparatory School head coach Mike Mischler. "I think he can play anywhere, on offense or defense. A lot of schools are looking at him as a middle backer but some are looking at him for other spots, like fullback or tight end. But I think, for the most part, they're going to recruit him as a backer because he moves so well."
Granted Mathis isn't exactly the biggest linebacker to ever play in the middle but he runs really well and he's very agile.
"I think to play middle backer in the Big Ten he would need to put on about 20 more pounds obviously," Mischler said, "but his range and his speed, he ran a 4.19 shuttle down at (Penn State's) Nike camp, I think is what people just love about him. He's got good hips and he's very explosive. He just needs to learn to play lower with his pads and I think he's going to be a hell of a player (at the next level)."
Mathis plays in the middle for Prep but his coach thinks that he could easily play outside linebacker just as easily. In fact, Mathis is versatile enough to play a number of positions, be it on offense or defense.
"He can cover a lot of ground on the outside but, personally, we just need him in the middle on our team," Mischler said. "But yeah I think he can play outside backer, no problem, as well. He can do anything. He can play D-end if he had to. He's playing tight end on offense for us now. He's played Z, believe it or not, he was a flanker and a wide out for us. He had a 65-yard touchdown catch earlier in the year. And he's played fullback for three games. We're just so banged up, we've had to move him wherever on offense. He's just a plug-in guy for us, I can put him anywhere I need him."
But it's on defense and at linebacker where Mathis is being recruited to play at on the next level. He actually came up through their system as a defensive end before they made him into a middle linebacker last year.
"When he became a junior we brought him up to the varsity and we put him in at middle backer about week two and it's been a natural fit for him," the coach said. "He might have lost a few pounds this season but he weighed 228 at the beginning of the year. But he's definitely over 220 and last year he played at about 206."
Mathis has pared his list of schools down to five. In addition to Ohio State, he's still looking at Penn State, Tennessee, Florida and Iowa. Joe Daniels is recruiting Mathis and his official visit to Ohio State is tentatively set for Dec. 5.
"I just try to play hard and aggressive," Mathis said. "I will be playing linebacker at the next level."
Mathis has a 3.0 GPA and he scored an 800 on his SAT.
"He's a full qualifier plus a 3.0 at our school is phenomenal," Mischler said. "With the new scale he's already qualified but he'll get the 820 minimum anyway."
Prep plays McDowell in the District 10 Championship game Friday night at 7:30 pm. McDowell, who sent Kyle Mitchum to Ohio State last year, beat Prep 36-15 during the regular season.