At number 19 is a player with a little bit of success to his credit, but it still just scratching the surface of his potential. Joe Mathis is a 6-foot-2, 256-pound outside linebacker who has normally played on the line of scrimmage during his Washington career. But like Travis Feeney and Hau’oli Kikaha before him, Mathis has now converted to the BUCK outside linebacker spot, and if the ability of Feeney and Kikaha to play the position is any indication of what Mathis can do - the sky is the limit.
Mathis has played in 34 games so far as a Husky, yet has only racked up 53 total tackles - including eight tackles for loss and four sacks. But he will be counted on this year to pick up where Feeney left off in 2015.
Replacing a player of Feeney’s ability with Mathis is vital. There’s a chance to have minimal drop-off because of Mathis’s experience and know-how. If Mathis hadn’t moved back from the line, UW Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski would have been forced to play at least one underclassman outside either to replace Feeney or Cory Littleton.
If Mathis can pick up the position as quickly as Feeney and Kikaha did, there’s no reason the Washington defense can’t pick right up where they left off. Pressure is one reason the Huskies have been so tough to play against, and UW needs a new sack master in the mold of Feeney and Kikaha.
Mathis is just the man for the job.