Mathews Looking Forward To OSU Visit

Syracuse (N.Y.) defensive end McKenzie Mathews has an impressive list of scholarship offers and will make his first official visit this weekend to Ohio State. Mathews is ranked as the No. 34 defensive end in the country by and says he does not have a leader at this point. We caught up with Mathews who seems to be excited about his pending trip to Columbus.

Defensive end McKenzie Mathews from Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse (N.Y.) will make an official visit to Ohio State this weekend and will be in attendance for the Michigan State game.

"I'm really looking forward to the game and seeing what the atmosphere is like at the stadium," Mathews said. "This will be my first time to Columbus, so I'm just looking forward to seeing the city and campus."

Mathews has scholarship offers from: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Stanford, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Alabama, North Carolina, Central Florida.

"They are basically all together right now. I don't have a favorite," Mathews said. "That's why I'm going to try and go on as many trips as I can and get a feel for the atmosphere of each school."

The trip to Ohio State will be Mathews' first official visit.

"I've already taken an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh," he said. "Other than OSU this weekend, I don't have any other visits set up. I may be going to the Michigan-Ohio State game at the end of the year."

The 6-3, 240-pound Mathews plans to bulk up just a little bit before beginning his college career. "I'll add few pounds and go up to 245, 250," he said.

Mathews was asked to reveal his strengths and weaknesses on the gridiron.

"I'm a good speed rusher," he said. "And I think I can read the linemen in front of me very well. It only takes me about a second to see where the lineman is going and off of that I can make a few reads of where the running back is going before I even see him. Like if they go down, it could be either a bootleg out back to me, or the running back or fullback coming to me. Or, it could be a lot of other things. But I just think my reading capabilities are pretty good.

"As for a weakness, I was always taught that defensive ends need to be more secure and always have outside contain. By doing that, I don't come out and try and get a five-yard loss when I think I can, just because I'm trying to be more safe and get a one-yard loss, instead of a five-yard loss. I think that would be one of my weaknesses."

As a junior in 2004, Mathews had 45 tackles, 12 sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss. He led his team to the big school state championship in New York.

This year, Christian Brothers Academy is 6-0 and once again ranked No. 1 in the state. Mathews has seven sacks thus far, and is also a starter on offense.

"I play tight end," he said. "But I'll be strictly defense in college."

Mathews was asked what stands out about Ohio State for a kid from New York.

"They've always been a good college to go to, especially with them winning a national championship in 2002," he said. "And the last defensive end to come from this region was Will Smith from Utica Proctor. He had a really good career at Ohio State and was a first round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints as the (No. 18) pick overall (in 2004). So, to even be looked at and maybe thought that I could even try and … not even fill his shoes, but even have the potential to do what he is doing now is a pretty good compliment for me."

Mathews is being recruited by OSU quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels – who handles recruiting in Pennsylvania and most of New York.

"He's a good guy," Mathews said. "He'll make you laugh. Sometimes his jokes are a little corny, but he's up there in age, so you can't expect him to always tell good jokes."

Mathews has not had a chance to speak with OSU head coach Jim Tressel yet.

"No, I haven't," he said. "He's actually supposed to call me this week."

Ohio State offered Mathews months ago and he says it was something he was waiting for.

"They offered me in January. I got a letter from them," he said. "I felt very happy about it. It's in one of my boxes that I have all my good memories in. I actually felt real happy that I got an offer from them. I was hoping to get an offer from them."

Mathews carries a 3.0 GPA and scored an 1160 on the SAT. He is ranked as the No. 34 defensive end prospect in the country by

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