While Butch Jones continues to grab in-state talent across Tennessee, he turns his attention to the best offensive tackle in the Volunteer State's class of 2016.
Bryce Mathews isn’t new to the grandeur of Tennessee.
The Scout four-star offensive tackle attended last month’s Orange Carpet Day, where he explored the Vols’ lavish athletic center, played games with the coaching staff and enjoyed a day where he could relax at his potential new home.
“It was just kind of different just because there really wasn’t a whole lot of football about it,” he told InsideTennessee. “It was kind of a get-together to socialize and play games and talk. It was a fun experience. I was glad I was able to go and spend time with the guys.”
Butch Jones and his coaching staff will roll out the orange carpet again July 25 with hopes of landing a couple of premier prospects, and while Mathews isn’t expected at this one, the Brentwood, Tenn., native enjoyed all that he could during his time in Knoxville for the first of the two summer events.
“It takes the pressure off a little bit,” Mathews said. “I don’t know so much if I would say it would sway my decision one way or the other, but it was a fun time to be able to go see Tennessee in that way — a different way that I was able to see it before.”
As the recruiting game intensifies and programs across the country create one-of-a-kind experiences tailored to draw in prospects, Jones and company have become known among recruits for their ability to uniquely encapsulate this growing trend.
But when it comes to the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Volunteer State, the strong relationship Jones has built with Mathews is even more important.
“Tennessee’s definitely one of the top schools I’m considering. They haven’t made any pressure or any push to try to make me commit any time soon,” Mathews said after his visit. “I kind of told them I would like to make my decision before my senior year starts if at all possible so I can focus on playing football and I don’t have to worry about the recruiting side of things.”
Mathews, who cited Clemson
and Ole Miss
as two other schools he's also considering, hopes to make his choice soon to focus on his senior season of high school football.
“I guess I’ll probably really end up making a decision (soon), but obviously that decision is what I want to do so I have to make sure I’m 100 percent about it,” he said.
In the meantime, the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Volunteer State will prepare for his upcoming football season at Brentwood Academy alongside the No. 2 offensive tackle in Tennessee: teammate and Vol commit Ryan Johnson
Together they make up one of the most dominant offensive fronts in the state, and Mathews knows Johnson will push him to be even better as he winds down his recruitment process.
“I’m really humbled by (my No. 1 ranking) and I know at the same time, with Ryan being No. 2, it’s going to fuel him a little more and only bring out the best in him,” he said. “He’ll bring out the best in me and we’ll bring out the best in each other. Hopefully that will make us a little bit better and bring us to our full potential.”
Bryce Mathews Junior Highlights
Managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this story.
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