Tony Mathis Continues WVU Peach State Recruiting Run
Recurrences have been a theme for West Virginia’s recruiting in the football class of 2019, and two more of those came up on Thursday afternoon and evening with the commitment of Georgia running back Tony Mathis . Not only is he the sixth Georgia native on the Mountaineer pledge list (La’Darius Henry hails from the state, joining DeShon Stoudemire, Jared Bartlett, Winston Wright, and Nicktroy Fortune), but he also is the fifth ‘same day’ commit in the class.
Mathis chose West Viginia over other finalists Iowa State, Louisville, Wake Forest and Purdue.
On July 28, three players: Henry, Kerry Martin and Isaiah Hazel, committed to WVU, and earlier today it was Tykee Smith coming aboard the growing verbal list. In all, the Mountaineers now have 15 players in the class.
Mathis (6-1, 195 lbs.) is the first running back in the class, filling one of the skill positions that typically draws attention from those concerned about absences. West Virginia has two scholarship juniors – Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway – on this year’s roster, so that provides a nice rotation as they move into their senior seasons in 2019 and Mathis comes aboard, with Alec Sinkfield and Leddie Brown as sophomores in that year.
The Cedartown High School feature back has good footwork that shows itself in excellent cuts. He sets up his blocks very well, and doesn’t get caught up trying to make too many move too early in runs. His patience allows him to read defenders and make the right move at the right time in order to maximize his yardage.
Mathis does run with a bit of an upright frame, although he does flash the ability to lean and make a dead leg move in order to cause tacklers to miss. When making his moves, he continues to progress forward, and doesn’t pitter-patter his feet in place. Those sorts of moves typically aren’t productive on the college level, and Mathis shouldn’t have to break any bad habits in that regard.
In coming out of a move, he gets back up to full speed quickly, and not many can run him down once he gets the a vertical burst into a seam. He was almost exclusively an inside the tackles runner a year ago, but much of that was due to Cedartown’s powerful run blocking, as well as his inclination to go north and south rather than trying to circle the defense.
Last year, Mathis had 1,035 rushing yards to go along with 407 via pass receptions, most of those coming on swing routes out of the backfield. He had 402 return yards and found the end zone 27 times.