IN THE HUDDLE: Cory Mathis

How can you judge what athletes will be highly recruited and those who will be overlooked by colleges across the country? One way to fully comprehend talent is to watch and appreciate. Here is one of those football players who has all the tools to be an emerging star at the next level, and he competes in one of the most talented areas in the state.

During the summer and into the season, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Cory Mathis
POSITION: QB
SCHOOL: Lakeland George Jenkins
HEIGHT: 6-1
WEIGHT: 180
40 SPEED: 4.5
HEAD COACH: Patrick Smith
www.floridakids.us Summer Rating: 154

In my never ending quest to showcase as many athletes as possible, today I visit Lakeland. The last time we came here, it was all about Lakeland High quarterback Billy Lowe, who has had a tremendous off season, following up last year's outstanding outing as a backup quarterback and linebacker for the defending 5A state champs.

This time around, we look at another Polk County quarterback prospect. One who has been able to get it done for the past three years, and one who has started to grab the attention with a tremendous off season.

Here is someone who has caught the attention and respect of his peers. Remember, he is perhaps the only quarterback around who has beaten nationally-rated Lakeland twice. He did it at the junior varsity level, and then against as a sophomore starter at the varsity level for the Eagles.

Mathis has worked hard to play the position. Whether it was by lifting weights or watching countless hours of film, you can watch and appreciate his maturity as a football player and as a person in just the past year.

I saw him a year ago at the famed Bishop Dullaghan Football Skills Camp at St. Leo University - to the northeast of Tampa. Working with one of the best quarterback coaches in the nation, Darren Slack, he learned, watched and became a better passer.

"I have actually been there three straight years," said Mathis. "You learn so much from someone like coach Slack. Working on your mechanics and throwing over and over again seems to help."

STRENGTHS: From watching Mathis in a camp setting in two junior games, you get the feeling that he can fit into a number of offensive schemes.

Because he has tremendous mobility, throws on the run with outstanding accuracy and has plenty of zip on the ball, colleges have to be impressed with an athlete who is both physical and elusive.

Even though he is slightly over 6-feet tall, he has tremendous pocket poise and will stay back for a few seconds to look off his initial two receivers.

Having a running back like Sheldon Dennis also helps take plenty of pressure off him as he gets ready to showcase his many talents in his final season.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: While he watches hours of game film, he has to become more aware of picking up blitzes. No matter how elusive you are, it becomes essential to recognize blitzes.

Mathis also has to start throwing the ball longer to open things up for himself. In the two games I watch he threw over 40 yards just two times. The first time, the receiver stopped and the ball landed 15 yards further up field. The second time, the ball was tipped at the line by a "blitzing" safety, which altered the flight of the ball.

OVERALL: While he also can play in the defensive secondary, here is an athlete who can truly play this position at the next level.

With colleges starting to pay more attention, the benefit of having a 3.2 grade point average and scoring 1210 on the SAT are also going to help sell Mathis as the total package!

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: The list is extensive and will be narrowed down before the season begins in the last weekend of August.

Auburn, Boston College, Central Florida, Duke, Florida, Fla. State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Kansas St., Louisville, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Pittsburgh, Rice, South Carolina, South Florida, Texas, UCLA, USC, Wake Forest, Washington and Wisconsin are among those that Mathis and his family will choose from.

Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKIHE ANDERSON – FORT MYERS DUNBAR
IN THE HUDDLE: TONY WILSON – DAYTONA BEACH MAINLAND
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRY WILLIAMS – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVARRIS JAMES – IMMOKALEE
IN THE HUDDLE: IAN EVANS – CLEARWATER COUNTRYSIDE
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRON SANDERS – BRADENTON SOUTHEAST
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL WENGER – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: DEANDRE MCDANIEL – TALLAHASSEE GODBY
IN THE HUDDLE: ORLANDO FRANKLIN – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: TRAVIUS THOMPSON –LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON THOMPKINS –PALM BEACH LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSH LONG –FORT MYERS
IN THE HUDDLE: DARON ROSE – TAMPA JEFFERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: MICHAEL JOHNSON – WESTON CYPRESS BAY
IN THE HUDDLE: TANNER JONES – CRAWFORDVILLE WAKULLA
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS UHRIG – TAMPA JESUIT
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSEPH JACKSON – MIAMI BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
IN THE HUDDLE: SAM YOUNG – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: MELVIN PATTERSON – ALACHUA SANTA FE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHANCE ATTAWAY – BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: GEORGE ROBINSON – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: TIMOTHY BROWN – MIAMI NORTHWESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: XAVIER HARRIS – FORT LAUDERDALE
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL LINCOLN – OCALA FOREST
IN THE HUDDLE: PATRICK ADOLPHE – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: QUINTIN HANCOCK – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHARLES DEAS – LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: DONALD BOWENS – ST. PETERSBURG
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT LOVE - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: CAZ PIUROWSKI – LAND O'LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: STERLIN JAMES – SPARR NORTH MARION
IN THE HUDDLE: JOHN WARE – FORT LAUDERDALE CARDINAL GIBBONS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKEVIOUS POWELL – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: BILLY LOWE - LAKELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVON HILL – MIAMI MONSIGNOR PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: CODY CLINTON – BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: JARED MARTIN – DAVIE WESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: COLIN MCCARTHY – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: DONTAE JONES – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: DAMON PIFER – GREEN COVE SPRINGS CLAY
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS SORCE - PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: SHOMARI GRANT - HIALEAH
IN THE HUDDLE: DARRELL ROSEMAN - DUNEDIN
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES POE – ORLANDO FREEDOM
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN ELLIS – PONTA VEDRA BEACH NEASE
IN THE HUDDLE: COURTNEY JONES: PENSACOLA
IN THE HUDDLE: BRYAN THOMAS - ZEPHYRHILLS
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DALRYMPLE - OVIEDO
IN THE HUDDLE: PRESTON PARKER – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: SABBATH JOSEPH – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN KHAWLY – HOMESTEAD SOUTH DADE
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON JAMES – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: KEITH HOUSTON – IVES ESTATES DR. MICHAEL KROP
IN THE HUDDLE: REGGIE ODOM - DELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: C.J. SPILLER – LAKE BUTLER UNION COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RILEY COOPER – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES JAMISON – STARKE BRADFORD COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: DESMOND GEE - MADISON COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RICKY GARY - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: LAURANCE MARIUS – KEY WEST
IN THE HUDDLE: KENRICK ELLIS – GREENACRES JOHN I. LEONARD
IN THE HUDDLE: RICHARD JACKSON – CLERMONT EAST RIDGE
IN THE HUDDLE: LABRANDON GLOVER - PENSACOLA

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