Matha has a "great week"

University of Pittsburgh Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt and his staff received a verbal commitment from towering offensive tackle Dan Matha from McDowell High School in Erie, PA last week. The discovered that Dan had many reasons to rejoice a week ago. Read on for details.

"Last week was an outstanding week for Dan," stated McDowell High School Head Football Coach Joe Tarasovitch. "First Dan was able to choose a school; then he discovered that he scored an 870 on his SATs. It appears he will be fully qualified academically."

Dan Matha (6-foot-7 inches, 310 pounds) accumulated roughly 30 scholarship offers. He narrowed his choices to Pitt and West Virginia and eventually chose the Panthers. Matha is capable of bench pressing 365 pounds, squatting 525 pounds and running a 5.2 forty-yard dash.

"Dan contacted me last week and told me wanted to commit to Pitt. I'm not going to lie to you. I thought he would have chose WVU if it was a quick decision. I told him to sleep on it and meet me the next day," stated Tarasovitch. "We sat in my office the next day and start picking apart both school. In the end, it was obvious that Pitt really went out of their way to make him feel wanted. Dan felt close with Coach (Rick) Trickett (WVU offensive line coach), but Pitt simply did a better job. They made him feel wanted and he felt comfortable."

"I told him to look past things like facilities. Both Pitt and WVU have great facilities. I told him he had to spend four to five years with the coaching staff and he had to make sure he felt comfortable with them. Dan simply had a ton of respect for Coach (Dave) Wannstedt, Coach (Paul) Rhodes and Coach (Paul) Dunn. He felt comfortable with them."

"Coach (Paul) Rhodes was his main recruiter. He's simply a class act and he did a great job recruiting Dan." Big East Analyst Bob Lichtenfels ranks Matha the 16th best prospect in the state of Pennsylvania. He has been given a "three-star" designation.

When asked about his strengths, he stated, "Well, Dan had God given size. He's a legitimate 6-foot-7 inches, 310 pounds. Dan isn't a 300 pound fat guy. He's very strong and well put together," said Tarasovitch. "He's an excellent drive blocker. We have him pull quite a bit and he can move and eliminate linebackers. He has little issues getting to the second level."

"Dan's only area of improvement would be his pass blocking. We have two young quarterbacks on our team so we're going to do a lot more pass blocking than what we have done in the past. Dan will have plenty of practice by seasons end."

Matha earned first team Class AAAA Associated Press All-State and PA Football News All-State as a junior. He has been a two-year starter at offensive and defensive tackle.

"I believe that Dan can step in early and help the Panthers. He already has the size and strength of a major college lineman. Once he improves his pass blocking, the sky in the limit."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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