Chad Simmons

Jason Mathews, Bryce's dad, said Ole Miss is the ticket for his son

Long-time Ole Miss commitment Bryce Mathews and his father, Jason, visited Oxford over the weekend, confirming Bryce's commitment and verifying for themselves that Ole Miss is the right choice for Mathews, the 4-star offensive lineman from Brentwood Academy.

Jason Mathews, Bryce's dad, got what he expected out of the Mathews' family's official visit to Ole Miss - no surprises.

"It was a great visit. We knew it would be. They always emphasize what we love about this place. It is a close-knit group and a family atmosphere." said Jason. "We initially started liking this place because of Coach (Hugh) Freeze and Coach (Matt) Luke and we got a lot of both of them on the visit and that's what we wanted.

"We didn't know much about Oxford or Ole Miss, but what we have seen confirms we made the right choice for Bryce and our family."

And what did stand out specifically to Jason?

"It's just the team and how close they are. We were eating at the compound and even players who weren't asked to be there join us," he continued. "It's the welcoming nature. You can feel the anticipation of gretness with what this team is building. With what they have done in the last four year is fantastic, but nobody in the weight room or the locker room is saying it's done - it's just a starting point. 

"The anticipation of what the future holds for this program is nice."

Jason said Bryce had a great time.

"Bryce is a laid-back kid. He wanted to meet Jack (DeFoor) and Greg (Little) and hang out with them and he did. They are excited about having having a group of lineman who can grow up together. I am an OL coach at a high school and I know chemistry is one of the msot important things you can have on an offensiv line. They have the talent and the coaching, now they are developing the cohesiveness.

"And it's the same with all the recruits and all the players and coaches here. It's the anticipation of being together and building. We've been at programs who were already at the top and we have been to places who say they are building every year. Ole Miss has a really nice trajectory and could do some special things in the near future and down the road. There is a real sense of 'we can do more' here. They have won a Sugar Bowl, but they want more, much more."

Bryce is a 6-6, 275-pounder who is rated a 4-star prospect by His final choice came down to Clemson, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Why?

"It came down to Coach Freeze, I believe. His humanity and his vulnerability as a human is real," stated Mathews. "To have that news come out Friday before this weekend was fgrustrating to him and he didn't mind letting anyone see it. He's real. I appreciate that. There is other coach I would want my son to go play for because of those things."

Jason liked the unity being developed already.

"Coach Luke does a greate job of matching guys who will play hard fo reach other and will like each other. That will lead to chemistry on the field. Greg, Jack, Eli Johnson, Alex Givens and Bryce all hung out together and I think they are already brothers, so to speak," he closed. "The team I played on, we didn't have much talent, but we were close and we won because of that. This group has talent and they will be close. They will be special."

Bryce's perspective was no different.

"My host was Dawson Knox and we had a great time. I hung with Jordan Sims and Eli Johnson too and it was really good," said Bryce. "I am excited about Wednesday. We will have a signing day ceremony at my school that day and then it's back to basketball practice."

Bryce said Luke told him to come in ready to compete and that if he does well enough, he will not redshirt, but a redshirt is also a possibility.

"I want to try to win a spot, but if not, I want to redshirt and work to get better," he added.  

Mathews said he recruited "a lot" during the weekend.

"I made the rounds and pretty much talked to all of them," he continued. "Maybe we will get a couple of them. They all like it here and are considering Ole Miss strongly.

"It was strange the NCAA article came out Friday though. It was almost like someone had an agenda. We believe it's no big deal and the other recruits felt that way as well. Coach Freeze brought it up to us and let us know it won't be a huge deal and we will overcome it together. I think that pulled us together even closer."

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