Defensive End, Upland (Upland HS) CA.
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There were several standout players at the Adidas Invitational in Ann Arbor this weekend, but there was one interesting visitor from all the way out in California that made a big impact as the most impressive defensive lineman at the event. Joe Mathis took in a visit to Michigan on Friday and then came out and put on a show on Saturday. Mathis is a strong and explosive end with great technique and he was really only challenged by Michigan commit David Dawson. After the linemen were done with the drills, I asked Mathis a few questions.
MnB: You’re from California, you flew in yesterday, how did your visit to Michigan go?
Mathis: Oh man, beautiful. Like I said, there’s just nice people around there, it’s Michigan, the whole town. The coaches are really cool, they tell you what’s up, they don’t lie to you. We walked down to the field, walked down the tunnel – I just got the chills, I went down to the middle of the field and they were just like "look around, what do you think?" It’s cool.
MnB: How do you feel like you did today?
Mathis: I did okay… I got beat on one rep. It was fun, but my boy the Michigan commit [David Dawson], he held me on my shoulder though. I’ll give it to him, he got me.
MnB: So you kind of struck up a rivalry with David Dawson?
Mathis: Yeah, I got him once and he got me once.
MnB: You met another Michigan commit, Taco Charlton, out in LA – what do you think about him?
Mathis: Taco’s the man. He should be ranked top ten, top five. He’s a good guy. All of the commits, humble dudes, want to get better. They’re not happy about where they are, they just want to get better and better, so I respect them.
MnB: What other schools have you been out to so far?
Mathis: USC, UCLA, San Diego State, and Arizona State.
MnB: What do you think about those schools?
Mathis: They’re okay: [the visits] weren’t better than Michigan. The coaches are cool out there, but I felt at home [at Michigan]. They’re going to have to come after me hard then I guess or something because that was the one.
MnB: You’re okay with moving away from home for school?
Mathis: Oh man, I have family in Mississippi, I have family in Oklahoma, I have family in Illinois, Chicago. So it doesn’t bother me.
MnB: Your cousin Su’a Cravens [a 5-star safety that Michigan is pursuing], is he planning on coming up too?
Mathis: Yeah, on our official.
MnB: You’re going to take an official here?
MnB: Are there any other places that you’ve decided on going for an official visit?
Mathis: I think I’m going to take an official to Alabama, and Nebraska if I like it. I know that if I go on an official to Michigan, they say it’s real nice, that it’s the best official ever.
MnB: Do you have a top group or anything? A leader?
Mathis: Michigan’s number one in my top five. If I go to Nebraska next week and if I like it, if I feel home, they’ll be number two. Michigan, so far … this place is nice.
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I was really impressed with Mathis -- he's a friendly kid but he's a tremendous competitor. Kids are usually really excited about a school after their visit, so we'll see if his interest wanes over time. As for now though, I'd say that Michigan's probably the favorite to land Mathis but it will be a fight to pull him in all the way from California.