Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the recruit: Jeremiah Mathis

Name: Jeremiah Mathis
Position: LB
Hometown: Hyattsville, MD
School: DeMatha Catholic
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 240

Ratings: don't even worry about it

One of the tricky things about the whole recruiting process is that your high school junior season really is your most important. It's on the basis of junior years that the recruiting services set up their databases and rank the prospects and coaches do their scouting and get their first impressions (if not sooner) and all that jazz. Michigan signee Vladimir Emilien is a Wolverine based entirely on his play junior year and before - he missed his senior season with a knee injury, but ended up a four-star Wolverine signee anyway.

Miss your junior year, though, and you miss out on practically the whole process. Now, Jeremiah Mathis didn't really miss his junior year, he just didn't exactly start, either. So he was left out of all the databases and didn't have so much as a Delaware State offer until coaches started sniffing around DeMatha (a recruiting happy hunting ground) for good junior prospects. They got wise to this kid who'd quietly racked up 96 tackles from the defensive end spot, and within about a week, Mathis had six or seven offers.

The ratings are useless because they're not really ratings, they're all just what they give a player when they don't know. If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say that Mathis would be a fairly high three-star on Rivals' scale. He'd rank right around the #14-15 player in the state of Maryland and about #20-25 on the list of weakside DE's in the country, which is where he played in high school - and closer, I think, to #20 (which is where Jake Snyder is ranked) than 25. This is just a scientific wild-ass guess, but I think it's reasonable, what with being an all-state selection and having almost 100 tackles and 13 sacks for a powerhouse team.

Mathis will be slotted back to outside linebacker, though, and given his size at about 240 lbs, he's a natural fit. The problem with that is this: there seems like a lot of room at linebacker with three starters leaving, but most of that is on the inside, and not only that but the outside is the stomping grounds of some guys who got plenty of time in reserve roles last year (Cam Johnson, J-K Dolce) and so there isn't really as much room for a freshman. Mathis will probably redshirt - the best-case scenario that I see for his depth chart appearances is something like Steve Greer did last year: showed up on the two-deep, but backed up Jon Copper and so never saw the field, allowing him to practice and prepare like a regular but keeping his redshirt on, so he'll be a freshman again next year.

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