S Matt Culver

Stanford just nabbed a rare Hawaiian recruit in this incoming freshman class in the form of big bad Taualai Fonoti. But when you think of the better prospects from the Aloha State, you rarely think of defensive backs. This 2003 class has a very good pair of safeties getting some attention on the mainland, and Stanford is certainly watching Matt Culver.

S Matt Culver (profile)
Punahou (Honolulu, HI)
Ht: 6-1  WT: 185
scratched all times, numbers at Nike camp

Matt Culver is a guy we're just beginning to learn about, as is often the case from Hawaii.  Matt was originally at Iolani, but transferred to a strong academic school familiar to many Stanford folks - Punahou.  In addition to being all-state in soccer his junior year, Culver logged 87 tackles, 3 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries and 8 sacks on the gridiron.  That helped him to honorable mention for all-ILH, and placed him on the radar as one of the top prospects in this 2003 class from the Aloha state.  Though often known for producing huge linemen, Hawaii has at least a pair of strong Division I level safeties in Culver and Iolani's Blake Wong.

Matt is a physical player who likes to hit, not particularly known for his speed (though a self-reported 4.48 forty).  Culver would probably project as a strong safety in college.  Matt scratched his times and numbers from the Nike camp in LA, which is unsurprising given how many kids I saw slip on the slick grass, but he'll have another chance to lodge some strong numbers at the Oregon Nike camp in a few weeks.  Hard to say too much more at this point, but Matt Culver is one to keep on your radar.  We all remember how Taualai Fonoti very quietly became an exciting and surprising part of this past recruiting class at Stanford.

I got the chance to chat with Matt at the LA Nike camp, and he was more than eager to talk to us about his game and recruitment...

The Bootleg: It's a good distance to come all the way out here, Matt.  Is this a spring break trip, or did you just come out for the camp?
Matt Culver: I came out here for the camp, to look at colleges also.  I'm going to stay here for a week to look at schools.  I was at UCLA and USC yesterday, and I really liked the schools.

The Bootleg: Are there any other schools on the West Coast you're seeing while you're here?
Matt Culver: Well, I'm going to Arizona tomorrow to see Arizona State and Northern Arizona.  Then I'm flying up to Oregon and looking at OSU, UO and Western Oregon.  I have relatives there, so I just thought I'd look at the school.

The Bootleg: Are these also the schools you've primarily been hearing from?
Matt Culver: Yeah, University of Oregon especially.  And Stanford, I've been hearing a lot from.  But I'm not going to be able to get up there.  This trip is expensive and I have to get back to school.

The Bootleg: When you talk about Stanford, academics certainly come into play.  Can you talk about any grades or test scores to date?
Matt Culver: My SAT, I'm taking that the week after I get back.  So I'll find out about that sometime after I get back.  My grades are pretty good.  I'm getting like a 3.25.  The school I'm going to is pretty academic, Punahou.  Pretty known for academics.  I think that's pretty reasonable coming from there.

The Bootleg: What would you say are the strengths in your game on the football field?
Matt Culver: Hitting, by far. I like to hit.  It's totally different - at things like this, everybody looks all good.  But when you put on the pads, it's totally different.  I've never been known as a flashy guy, you know.  More of a hitter.

The Bootleg: What are you trying to work on at a camp like this?
Matt Culver: Just trying to get exposure.  This is a great thing, coming all the way from Hawaii, where you don't get any exposure at all.  I just wanted to see other athletes, California especially.  Southern California is known for the best football players.  No one comes out to Hawaii to recruit, and it's kinda neat to come out here and see what everyone is like.

The Bootleg: Can you share some of your stats and achievements from this past junior year?
Matt Culver: I had three picks, and returned one for a touchdown.  I did a flip in the endzone to finish it off.  I had almost ten tackles a game.  Yeah, if I play in college I definitely want to play strong safety.  They have me listed as a linebacker on some sites, but I'm definitely a safety.

The Bootleg: Do you think your strengths right now lie as a run-stopper or a cover guy roaming around in the defensive backfield?
Matt Culver: I'm certainly not a cover corner.  I love run stopping, but I can play the pass, too.


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