Feeling A Rush

Matt Ioannidis prefers to rush the passer, but the Hunterdon Central (N.J.) defensive end and future Temple football player admits he's even better stopping the run. Viewing his highlight tape backs Ioannidis' assessment as he constantly is in the backfield blowing up draw plays and chasing down ballcarriers on the edge.

Matt Ioannidis prefers to rush the passer, but the Hunterdon Central (N.J.) defensive end and future Temple football player admits he's even better stopping the run.

Viewing his highlight tape backs Ioannidis' assessment as he constantly is in the backfield blowing up draw plays and chasing down ballcarriers on the edge.

"I'm stronger against the run," agreed the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder. "I'm stronger than a lot of tackles, I get off the ball faster and get the inside gap. My combination of quickness off the ball and my hands are my biggest strengths, I believe."

Part of Ioannidis' run-stopping ability comes from preparation and recognition of what play is being run.

"I feel I have a good sense of the game," said Ioannidis. "I'm pretty good at recognizing draws and traps. I prepare, and I watch a lot of film."

While run-stopping may be his strength, his passion, as it is for many edge rushers, is to get after the quarterback.

"I'm not trying to injure anyone, but it's a mental game and when the quarterback fears that I'm coming from his blind side, it makes him wonder, makes him nervous," said Ioannidis. "You get the quarterback out of the game, it's game over. Getting after the quarterback is the greater task, and I enjoy it."

Ioannidis is confident in his abilities. After evaluating his assets, the rising senior took a long time when asked what he would consider a weakness.

"Every athlete has a weakness, I'm just not sure what mine is," said Ioannidis. "I don't want to make it sound like I'm the perfect player. There are things I can improve on, getting to the quarterback, getting outside more aggressively. I don't know if I would consider them weaknesses."

After camping at Temple on May 29, Ioannidis knew he was close to a decision. He just wanted to take an official visit to view the entire campus, which he did in late June and solidified his commitment.

Ioannidis also had offers from Buffalo and Massachusetts but admitted he never seriously considered either school. Location played a role in his decision, and his only visits were to Temple and Delaware.

"I went down to Temple in the spring and saw a practice, I loved the intensity," said Ioannidis. "Ben Albert, who recruited me, is a great guy and I met the other coaches and loved the staff. I felt really comfortable. I worked under the coaches at (the one-day camp) and that was a big part of it. They want what's best for you.

"Once I toured the campus last month, I was ready to make a decision. I wanted to get it out of the way before my senior year started, so I could go into this season with a clear head. There was no reason to wait. It was the right fit."

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