But when he gets on the field, he's a completely different person.
"I'm an analyzer," McKenzie Mathews said, "I see the game as a chess match between me and the opposing player. Our team and the opposing team. I like to play the game smart and utilize my brain, as well as my abilities."
A chisled 240 pounds and 6-foot-3, Mathews is considered to be one of the premiere defensive ends in the northeast and possibly the country. He's already caught the eye of Alabama, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who have all offered scholarships in the early period, and Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College and North Carolina, whom have all expressed serious interest.
"I don't really have a favorite right now," Mathews said on his recruitment. "It's all tied between Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Alabama. I like them all differently, because they all offer something different."
When asked to differentiate, Mathews had very educated responses to each, showing respect for each in his top three.
"I have two teammates that are headed to Syracuse (Bruce Williams and Lavar Lobdell) and it's very close to home, obviously, with me living in Syracuse."
"Pittsburgh is coming off a great season where they went to a BCS bowl game, plus they've got some great new coaches coming in there."
"Alabama has got great tradition. They have been a great program for a long time."
Last season, as a junior Mathews tallied 50 tackles, 10 for a loss, 12.5 sacks, and he blocked 3 kicks. He earned All-Central New York honors for his efforts.
A long time native of Syracuse (NY), Mathews oddly enough was not raised in Orangeman colors, choosing to root for instead for the heartland.
"I rooted for Nebraska when I was growing up," Mathews laughed, "I only did it because my older brother was a huge Notre Dame fan and at the time the only team that could beat them was Nebraska, so I rooted for them."
Mathews has a couple of months left on his junior year of high school before he will try and hit the road this summer. He's scheduled to appear at the Elite football camp on June 11th and is planning on visiting Pittsburgh and Syracuse for some summer camps if he can pull away from his work schedule.
"I'll be using this time to study for my SAT's," McKenzie said, "Hopefully I won't be brain dead by the summer."