COVINGTON, Ga. — Mike Mathison has gone from being considered an unheralded, undersized wide receiver to a NCAA Division I football prospect, and now, a commit.
Mathison, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound Newton senior took to Twitter Saturday evening to share the news that he’s pledged his services to Tennessee-Chattanooga while on an unofficial visit.
Mathison had offers from Morgan State, Seton Hill, Albany State, Alabama A&M, UVA-Wise and Southern Illinois, while getting interest from the likes of Arkansas State and Western Carolina. Much of this recruiting attention came after the wideout posted 37 catches and 417 receiving yards with four touchdown receptions for the Rams in 2017.
"Mike committed to UTC as an athlete," Newton recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Josh Skelton said. "They will use his freshman year as basically a redshirt year where they will focus on getting him bigger and stronger to contribute in the spring."
Also a contributor to Newton’s basketball team, Mathison has carved out a reputation for himself as being a monster in the weight room and having an undying work ethic. It's that work ethic that Skelton said began to turn heads in Mathison's direction.
"He's just one of the more freakish athletes we've ever had here," Skelton said. "He can change the game as a DB or a wide receiver. One of the best things about Mike is how humble he is. He lifts twice a day and puts in extra work on the weekends."
Mathison's recruiting picked up after he had a monster performance both on offense and defense in Newton’s 45-6 win against Salem in both schools’ spring game back in May.
In that game, Mathison recorded three touchdown passes, including one improbable scoring grab where he caught a pass in the flat, broke a tackle, juked several defenders and ran past would be Salem tacklers on a 65-yard score. He also had a pair of interceptions from his safety spot.
Mathison, along with junior Robert Lewis (29 catches, 409 yards and five touchdowns in 2017) will return in 2018 to give Newton a potentially lethal combination of pass catchers for whoever wins the Rams’ quarterback job this fall.
Beyond his athletic exploits, one of the things both Skelton and Newton head football coach Terrance Banks heavily lauded is Mathison's commitment to the classroom. With a 3.8 grade point average and qualifying test scores, both have long been calling Mathison a complete package and priceless asset for any college program.
"Three-sport star in football, basketball and track. He could've lettered in baseball had he played," Banks said. "You can find him working out twice a day and on the weekends working on his craft. Plus the student part. He's got that high core GPA, and that's just his regular classes without taking electives into consideration, and he's scored an 1100 on the SAT.
"Without a doubt, he's the guy who our other kids will look to to get us going."
"He's everything that the Newtonboyz stand for," he said. "We're very proud of him."
Stay tuned to www.covnews.com as we bring you more about Mathison’s commitment.