Cody Matthewson is still waiting on his first scholarship offer.
But he'd put his numbers up against any running back's in the state of Iowa—if you look at them the right way.
"Everybody tries to look at their stats, you know," said Matthewson, who racked up 1,291 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior last year. "I mean, let's put Brandon Wegher (RB from Bishop Heelan HS in Sioux City) out there. He's a stud pretty much right now. But you look at his stats, look at his yards, and he had like 2,000-some rushing yards to about 280-some carries.
"I had over 1,000 yards, and I only carried the ball like 120 times."
The numbers have done good things for Wegher, who is ranked No. 26 in the nation among high school running backs by Scout.com. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound junior has already garnered more than a dozen scholarship offers from football powerhouses like Auburn, Penn State, Nebraska and Missouri.
But Matthewson's yards-per-carry average—nearly four yards more than Wegher's and the highest of any Iowa running back who carried the ball more than 100 times last season—has only translated into letters, packages, occasional phone calls and, most importantly, no offers.
"I averaged over 12 yards a carry," he said. "That's the thing. Everybody's caught up in looking at stats and yards, but they never look at the carries. I don't want that to be the concern with me for coaches."
The month of April could go a long way in making sure Matthewson's numbers get noticed. The junior has a bevy of trips planned for next month, and he's hoping a little exposure will send an influx of scholarship money his way.
"I've gotten some calls from Kansas State, and then I'm going to Indiana for their spring game," he said. "Then I'm going to Iowa State's Junior Day, I'm going to UNI's (Northern Iowa) Junior Day, and I'm going to Iowa State's spring game, all next month."
In the meantime, he'll be balancing his recruiting push in football with a high school baseball career that's also caught the attention of a few college scouts.
"I've been getting a lot of publicity for baseball," he said. "I've been invited to Missouri's camps, and I'm going up to UNI for Junior Day and to Missouri.
"I don't know if I'm going to get drafted right out of high school, but as a sophomore I batted .500 for the season. So I'm putting up good stats as a young player, but I don't know."
And just in case the offseason wasn't already busy enough, Matthewson said he is also "out for golf and track."
Nothing takes precedence over the gridiron, however.
"I grew up here in Madrid (Iowa)," he said, "and it's a football town….We're not that good at baseball, so, football is my preference."
The Total Package…
Despite being offerless, Matthewson has been hearing from Iowa and Wyoming, along with each of the schools he plans on visiting in April. At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, the 2007 all-state selection has the size to be a big-time running back prospect, and he said he's been working hard on his speed to try to become the complete package.
"I'm going out for track and doing everything I can there," he said.
Matthewson was clocked at 4.51 in the forty-yard dash when he was a freshman. He hasn't timed himself in the forty since but said he was able to trim off two-tenths of a second from his 100-meter time over the past year.
He's also been logging his fair share of hours in the weight room. He tied for first place in a conference-wide bench press competition this month by putting up 340 pounds, and he hopes to be benching 400 by the time football season starts in the fall.
"It's getting there," he said, "but I mean, putting the whole package together is hard."
The Waiting Game…
Matthewson said he has no early favorites among the schools showing interest in him.
"Preferably, it would be nice to go to a big college, like Iowa State or one of those big D-I colleges," he said, "but I don't want to shut out all these small schools and tell them ‘Hey, don't give me an offer because I'm not going to end up going there,' because you never know how it's going to turn out."
And even when that elusive first offer arrives, Matthewson said he'll try not to jump the gun.
"I'll want to commit right away," he said, "but that's just how it is. You're going to be antsy, but I'm definitely going to end up waiting it all out. I'm just going to let all the offers pile up, (see which) one I have more money for, a full ride or whatever, and then make my decision."
Small School Secure…
Of the Division I colleges reportedly showing interest in Matthewson, Wyoming is one of the smallest. It's also the farthest away from his hometown in Madrid. But the junior standout has ties to the university through fellow Iowa high school football star Ben Durbin, a senior from Gilbert who signed a letter of intent to play for the Cowboys next season.
"I don't know (Durbin) personally, but he's from here," Matthewson said. "We were in their (Gilbert's) conference…up until this year…so we played against them in all the sports."
"It would be nice to go (to Wyoming)," he added. "I'd play there."
And Matthewson has experience competing for a small school. Madrid High School boasts a total enrollment of less than 200 students.
"It's going to hurt me a little bit (in recruiting)," he said. "I don't get as much recognition as all these bigger schools do, you know. They're on all the TV shows and all that good stuff. They're on televised, live games and stuff."
So for Matthewson, the exposure will have to come through hard work, and lots of travelling.
"I can make room," he said. "I'll be out there. I'll make myself get out there to some camps."
Iowa RB Awaiting Offer, Gearing up for Visits
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