There are not many athletes as talented as Christian Tago that fall through the hands of the nation’s top schools and into a Group of 5 program. That’s why two coaching staffs who saw the lightly recruited linebacker turn into one of the nation’s best have wasted no time on offering a scholarship to his promising younger brother, Matthew Tago.
According to reports, Christian Tago only held FBS scholarship offers from San Jose State and San Diego State (Matthew says he was too young to vividly remember it). Mike MacIntyre’s staff scouted and recruited him to SJSU - and after MacIntyre left for Colorado, Ron Caragher’s staff developed him into one of their star players.
Christian Tago was already an established starter by his sophomore season at SJSU and became one of the team’s leaders as a junior.
It is no wonder why Colorado and San Jose State were the first teams to offer a scholarship to his younger brother Matthew earlier this year.
“We’re really close, me and my brother,” Matthew said. “Getting the scholarship from San Jose State that’s really cool.”
Christian Tago’s relationship with the two staffs has been a plus for Matthew, having already known of them before the offers.
“He’s telling me (SJSU has) a good coaching staff and that it’s a good place for me,” Matthew said. “I’m just going with the flow. I’ve been to a lot of the games because of my brother. I like the coaches, they are pretty cool. The atmosphere is amazing. Looking out there and seeing the fans get pumped up. I can’t wait. I’ll be at most of the home games this year.”
As for Colorado, Matthew said, “It was a great feeling. That was my brother’s old coaching staff. I hear most from Coach Mac.”
There is no doubt that other coaching staffs will catch on, but the two most familiar with him did not hesitate to offer early.
Matthew Tago is going into his junior year, but already stands at 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds - two inches taller than his older brother. With his size and athleticism, Matthew can play just about anywhere on the field. As a sophomore, at quarterback, he totaled 1,455 yards, 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions, a QB rating of 93.6 and an All-Golden League First Team selection after playing in eight games.
Colorado offered him first as an athlete and SJSU offered him second as a quarterback, but Tago can play anywhere from QB to tight end to the defensive side of the ball too. He still has time to decide, but is currently leaning toward playing tight end at the next level.
“The scholarship is as a quarterback, but they are willing to recruit me as an athlete," Tago said of SJSU. "I would like to play tight end in college. I will play wherever they put me, but tight end is something I would like to do. I like catching the ball. (San Jose State) utilizes (Billy) Freeman a lot and I like that.”
At quarterback, Tago said “My arm strength is probably one of my biggest strengths, I can run the ball a little bit too.
“I’m the player that would do anything for my team, be the athlete on the team and do whatever I would have to do to help the team win.”
As was the case with many high school recruits, Tago’s summer was spent attending college camps. He attended camps for SJSU and Colorado, along with Fresno State and Washington as a quarterback. He then camped with UCLA as a tight end.
One difference about Tago’s summer was that he also go to spend one-on-one time with a major FBS athlete - his brother Christian.
“He was home about two weeks ago,” Matthew explained. “We spent a lot of time together. We work out a lot. He tells me to keep my head up and stay focused in high school. He told me to take (recruiting) slow, don’t rush into anything and have fun in high school.”
And that is what Matthew is doing. With about 19 months to go before his class of 2018 signing day, he is staying open with his recruitment.
“I’m open to anybody right now, just going to the flow,” Matthew said. “It feels really good to know that I have my school paid for.
“The education is the main thing for me and my family, find the right school and the right education for me. Right now, I might do law and government.”
Older brother Christian majored in the same field at SJSU.