I spoke with Claude Mathis, one of the better known and well respected high school coaches in this little football crazy state of ours. I could have talked to him for hours but wanted to be brief and to the point so we just hit on a few specifics.
After securing commitments from Curtis Riser and Bryson Echols in the 2012 class, UT is focused its sights on a DeSoto player once again: running back Dontre Wilson.
Wilson of course is quick twitch, lighting in a bottle back with a shot of surprising thunder for good measure. He’s the type of player that any team in the nation would want, and while that usually bodes well for Texas, Wilson is sitll wide open.
Eric Nahlin: I know you’re busy man so I appreciate you taking the time, Coach.
Claude Mathis: Hey no problem.
EN: The reason I’m calling is to get your thoughts on Dontre Wilson and his recruitment, but first what makes him so special?
CM: Number one is he listens. He does what’s asked of him, not just when working out, but also when it comes to running a play properly.
EN: So he’s very coachable.
CM: Yes he is.
EN: The one thing that stood out to me about watching him was how hard and powerfully he runs. I never hear that mentioned.
CM: Exactly! He runs tough and he’s not afraid to run it between the tackles. He’s not simply an outside runner. You have to be able to run it up the middle if you want to play for me.
EN: I was at the Skyline game and there were no easy yards up the middle but he kept pounding. As things currently sit, it sounds like Texas is a factor in his recruitment but not one of the leaders.
CM: He’s open. I know the news out there is that it’s Oregon and Oklahoma St., but he’s open. He likes those schools, but he likes Texas, Ohio St. and A&M. In fact I just got off the phone with Alabama and I’m sure they’ll factor in some.
EN: Did Alabama offer?
CM: No, but they’re supposed to call back a little later so we’ll see.
[editor’s note: Sounds like Bama will offer once they get Wilson on the phone.]
EN: So every team is just even.
CM: Yeah, he has his favorites but not in any particular order.
EN: Ok, understood. I’m going to ask you something out of curiosity but feel free to not answer. I was wondering what happend with you taking the job at the University of Houston and then returing almost immediately to DeSoto.
CM: It turned out that it just wasn’t a good time for me and my family. A lot of stuff goes into uprooting your family and we just felt like now wasn’t the time.
EN: I take it coaching in college is still one of your goals?
CM: Oh yeah, it’s number two, behind bringing a state championship here.
EN: Though you guys have a ton of talent, it’s a tough thing to do. Like I said I was at that Skyline game and you guys were in it. There couldn’t have been a game played all year anywhere with that type of talent on the field.
CM: You got that right. That was one that we haven’t forgotten about and I’ll leave it at that.
EN: The thing is they apparently didn’t forget about the year the prior.
CM: [laughing] No, they didn’t. I can’t remember them ever getting shut out but we did it that year, and they remembered.
EN: Along with all the talent on the field, the level of play was fantastic. Pretty much the only flags thrown came after the whistle.
CM: Yeah they did, and two of them were on us and one was extremely costly.
EN: How are you guys setting up for next year?
CM: We’re looking real good, I think we’ll be close to a great defensive team. We just have to keep working.
EN: With all the talent you’ve put in the college ranks, do you still keep in touch with your former players?
CM: Oh yeah, I’ve been real fortunate that they want to come back and work. We had guys in last week and we’ll have more in this week while they’re on spring break.
EN: Well Coach, I appreciate your time. I’m thinking about going up for your spring game and checking you guys out.
CM: Come on, I’ll take care of you.