It wasn't but a few years ago that players starting earning full scholarships for long snapping. The state of Arizona has produced some quality long snappers in the past few years, the most notable being former Cortez HS and University of New Mexico snapper Joe Maese who was drafted by the Ravens. Scout.com has learned that another snapper will be headed to the next level when Matt Rios from North Canyon HS (Phoenix, AZ) committed to Cal.
Rios tells Scout that he committed on Monday yet he will not enroll in school until January. He will gray shirt at a Glendale Community College, meaning he will not play football or be a full time student at GCC so his eligibility clock will not start. Rios says, "Their snapper is coming back and will finish the season and graduate." This will give Rios the chance to be a four year starter for the Bears.
Rios also held an offer from San Diego State but says that is fully committed to Cal even if another school comes in and says he can enroll this fall, saying, "I would not be interested at all, I am committed to Cal." The allure of playing in the Pac 10 and for a "great program" is what ultimately made up Matt's mind.
The 6-1 230 pound Rios also plays middle linebacker at North Canyon but says he will strictly be a snapper for the Bears.
So how did Rios start snapping? He says, "I didn't even know that it was a job. My mom talked to the coach, I gave it a try and stuck with it." Good call mom! It turned out to be a good move as Matt turned into a three year varsity starter and is currently ranked the #2 snapper in the country by snapping guru Chris Rubio.
Rios tells Scout that his training goes six days a week, "We snap 150 to 200 snaps a day. We snap a medicine ball, snap punts using a weighted football." The hard work paid off.
Rios says he would like to major in the law enforcement field. He carries a 2.7 GPA and has not taken the SAT yet.