Monday, December 15, 2014

Rising star watch: Dru Mathis

Dru Mathis of Buena High School has emerged as a rising linebacker in Ventura County. The Class of 2016 prospect has drawn interest from schools in the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West and Big Sky (photo contributed). 
Buena of Ventura unleashed its biggest Bulldog frequently on the field this past season - outside linebacker Dru Mathis.

At 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds, the Bulldog junior is a combination of size, speed and disruption against Southern California offenses.

There's plenty of reasons to believe that Mathis could emerge as Buena's most highly wanted prospect in the Bulldogs' 2016 class. Here's a closer look:

WHAT TO LIKE: His long arms gives him the upper hand against one-on-one blockers, because they're lengthy enough to extend and shed past his opponent. Shows excellent reaction skills with locating the football, then bolts to the play like a shark locating its prey. He won't hesitate to blitz on the edge and brings the heat with his speed and instincts. He's also a strong special team performer who can block punts.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I'll need to see more of his ability in pass coverage, especially in man situations. He tends to rely more on extending his hands and shoving a blocker to one side instead of using different hand techniques to get past his opponent. Mathis tends to come up too high on tackles and can work on sinking his hips to gain lower body leverage. He'll obviously need to hit the weight room hard before his senior season and bulk up from his current frame.

OVERALL: Mathis has the size and athleticism to do some damage for a college football program in the future. His speed can fit right in with a Mountain West school and some PAC-12 teams that thrive on defensive speed at linebacker; like Arizona State, Arizona, USC, UCLA, etc. Mathis is in a good football area as well, as Ventura County has attracted Florida State, Norte Dame, Nebraska and the PAC-12 in the past.

2014 STATS: 92 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries and one blocked punt.

SCHOOLS SHOWING INTEREST: University of Houston, Hawaii, San Diego State, Cal Poly and Azusa Pacific. 

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