The first offer for for 2021 DE Ian Mathews (6-5 270) of Columbus, GA came from Shorter University in August. Next came offers from Depauw University and Concordia Chicago University. Not exactly college football household names. But suddenly, Mathews has emerged as a major prospect with SEC and ACC offers, and USC is one of the schools to jump into the fray.
Mississippi State was the first big school to step up in September. Next came offers from Duke, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, USC, Florida State and, most recently, Vanderbilt.
Mathews knew he was always worthy of SEC and ACC offers, and it was just a matter of time until those recruiters took notice of him.
“I think it was like my junior year tape, my first three games were very good, so I think they started looking at that,” Mathews said. “Once one offered me, everybody else started looking at me and that’s how I got the rest. It feels great, I’m just thankful.”
USC head coach Will Muschamp has gotten involved quickly with Mathews and has helped to push the Gamecocks to the top of his list.
“They started sending me pictures, and then the head coach texted me,” Mathews said. “When he text me, I felt like that’s when I knew they are trying to actually offer me or something like that. I talked to Coach Muschamp yesterday. I’m a big person but I can move. I have a lot of speed for my size, that’s what he likes. My legs are long, so that’s how I get past defenders.”
Mathews added that USC has taken a position of prominence with him after the offer, part of an exciting and unexpected experience for him.
“I’ve been feeling great,” Mathews said. “It’s something new for me because I never thought I would get an offer from there or even have a chance to go there. After the offer now, I am looking in to actually going there. It’s one of my top schools right now. They’ve just been checking up on me and making sure I’m doing well in school.”
Mathews said Duke, Georgia Tech and Arkansas are three others he’s feeling strong about at this point. Of course, he’s right down the road from Auburn, and he lives in Georgia. But neither has offered at this point.
“It may happen. I would be speechless if that happens,” Mathews said. “I didn’t grow up an Auburn fan, but I’m a fan. I’m really a Georgia fan. If they get involved, that’s going to change my whole recruitment. It’s going to take off from there.”
Mathews said he’s not looking to make his decision until after his senior season. He said he had 5 or 6 sacks as a junior and 4 so far this season.