The best part about Matt Dotson’s junior season so far is simply getting back on the field.
Sidelined at the start of the season after wrist surgery, the Scout four-star tight end is back with his Archbishop Moelle team and ready to prove he’s still one of the best offensive prospects in the Midwest.
“It’s great to be able to play with my teammates again,” Dotson told InsideTennessee. “It was hard watching on the sideline when you know you can contribute to the team and make the team better, but now that I’m back, it’s a great feeling.”
Now the 6-foot-6, 224-pound is turning his attention to improving on the field and sorting through an offer list that reads like a who’s who of traditional college football powers. Dotson has accumulated offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and Wisconsin, among others, and all are fiercely fighting to land his versatile skill set that includes lining up as a traditional tight end and split out wide as a wide receiver.
Tight ends coach mark Elder and the Vols’ staff are coming hard after the Cincinnati native, who’s visited Knoxville on numerous occasions throughout the course of 2015.
“They just like my overall game and just everything about it,” Dotson said. “They always want me to come down. I’m always welcome to come down there whenever I want. I’ve been down there many times in the past six months. It’s a great place to be all the time.”
The No. 3-ranked tight end in the Midwest Region visited for Tennessee’s overtime loss to Oklahoma Sept. 12 and enjoyed the raucous atmosphere of Neyland Stadium despite a Tennessee defeat.
“Everything was great,” he said. “I really enjoyed the experience.”
LSU, Maryland, Michigan State and Pitt are all also in steady contact with Dotson, who told IT he wants to attend a school that is at least within a reasonable driving distance from his hometown in Ohio.
“I’ll probably stay within a seven hour drive so my family can still come and watch a couple of games during the year,” he said. “Definitely not trying to go somewhere where my parents can’t see me play.”
Luckily for Tennesese, Knoxville is less than four hours away from Cincinnati, and the Vols are definitely in play for his talents. Dotson, who speaks with both Elder and head coach Butch Jones, is searching for an atmosphere where he feels comfortable and confident with the staff that will lead him at the next level.
“I just look at how players and the coaches act with each other,” Dotson said. “[I look at] how the coaches treat their players and just the overall bond and family that they have there.”
The No. 2 tight end in Ohio splits time as a normal tight end and as a big wide receiver, and while he pares down a growing offer list, a decision might not be on the horizon until next year.
“I’d say probably some time after this year,” Dotson told IT on when he wants to choose a college. “I’m kind of just playing it by ear right now, but probably some time after my junior year.”