Coach Spotlight: Martay Mattox
"Martay transferred here in the middle of his sophomore year from Cedar Shoals," said Coach Ryals. "As a junior he was able to play and earned the job at starting quarterback. It took time, but Martay was a great fit for what we try to do offensively."
The results on the field were immediate for Mattox. He passed for 1,879 yards and rushed for 789 yards in leading the Gladiators to the state championship game. Unfortunately, they came up short falling to Sandy Creek, 29-15.
"Martay is very bright with a strong football mind," said Ryals. "He has a good understanding of the game. If you add that to the good arm he possesses, good accuracy, and his elusiveness, you have a highly skilled playmaker at quarterback."
Mattox, 6-2, 183, had the "Glads" on a roll this past season. In addition to passing for more than 2,000 yards he also rushed for more than 800. Going into the playoffs, Clarke Central was 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in Georgia's Class AAAA.
"As a senior Martay was more like a point guard in basketball," said Ryals. "He did an excellent job distributing the ball. He had one year as a starter under his belt and felt more comfortable in his role. He was more relaxed in the pocket, kept his head up, and had better command of the offense."
His high school career ended abruptly with an upset in the 2nd round by East Paulding. The Vikings finished the season at 11-1. Mattox decided to enroll early at South Carolina as many quarterbacks do and start learning the playbook.
"Being the starting quarterback, Martay was a very popular student here with his peers," said Ryals. "His grades were decent which enabled him to graduate early. He lives with his mother, brother and sister. Really he's quiet by nature, but fun-loving. He's just Martay."
Mattox was offered by South Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland. Shane Beamer attended the first Gladiator spring practice of 2010, and that went a long way with Mattox. He gave his verbal pledge in May to become a Gamecock and never wavered from it.
"You'd probably have to ask him why he committed to South Carolina," said Ryals. "They were the first to offer him, and Shane Beamer did a good job in recruiting him. He's in Columbia now, started classes on the 10th."
With Stephen Garcia entering his senior season and Connor Shaw being a sophomore behind him, Mattox may have to wait for his chance at quarterback in Columbia. There's also a chance with his athleticism Mattox could play wide receiver or defensive back at the next level.
Mattox competed at track for Clarke Central in the 4x1 relay and the 200 meter dash. He wore No. 7 for the Glads and was named All-State honorable mention as a senior.
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