Upland DE Mathis didn’t expect national status

Joe Mathis is taking it as slow as he can, but that task gets more difficult by the day. The Upland High School four-star junior defensive end has received 11 scholarship offers in the last two weeks alone.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Mathis figured he’d be a target on the West Coast, but what surprised him was when his status went national. It was Oklahoma and Oklahoma State offering last week, Michigan and Michigan State this week. Nebraska offered the same day as Oklahoma, joining names on his list more familiar to Mathis like USC, UCLA, Washington and Arizona State.

“I really didn’t see that coming, all the national offers,” Mathis said. “But I’m open to anybody. I’ll go anywhere as long as I fit in.”

Mathis has solidified three of his eventual official recruiting trips, none of which are on the West Coast. He’ll visit Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska with two trips yet to be determined.

At the rate he’s pulling in offers, there is much to be determined for Mathis, who had 79 tackles and six sacks as a junior. He hasn’t begun to narrow his list, understandable at the rate it’s expanding. He’s simply trying to process the tidal wave of information that only seems to be growing.

“With some of these coaches, it’s a lot to deal with,” Mathis said. “Some of them are telling me I’m going to be a starter as a freshman. Some of them are telling me how big time I am. You have to figure out who’s being real with you.”

Mathis issued a verbal commitment to Washington on Oct. 28, a day after the Huskies joined Indiana to give him a total of two offers. But he de-committed in January when Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt was fired two days after the Huskies gave up 777 total yards and 67 points in an Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor.

Another commitment isn’t in the near future, according to Mathis. But the future, he said, is admittedly hard to predict.

“Right now I’m loving life and I’m trying to take it real slow,” Mathis said. “But if it ever gets too hectic and I don’t think I can do this and school and play football, I’ll just go ahead and commit to a school I’m comfortable with before the season.”

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