UPLAND, Calif. -- Defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) didn’t shy away from competition this offseason, even though he might have had a reason to. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman said he fractured a bone in his foot back in April, but pushed through the injury this summer and took part in several camps.
“Eventually, I had to stay off of it for three weeks, ice it and all that,” Mathis said. “It was pretty painful to play with that. I played on it and made it worse, but I’m back now.”
Mathis is back in several ways. After getting up to 270 pounds, Mathis put in some serious work this summer.
“It’s more about body fat,” Mathis said. “I slimmed down to 255 and stayed there, but I dropped down to 14 percent body fat. I was up at 30-something. I’m way faster now. If you look at film of when I ran the ball in this last game, I was moving.”
Mathis, the nation's No. 249 recuit, carried four times for 23 yards in the season opening win. Defensively, he recorded six tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
“The team was triple-teaming me and running the ball away from me,” Mathis said. “I just have to practice against that and figure out how to get away from that.”
In terms of recruiting, Mathis has bounced back and forth between leaders and top schools, but the defensive end said he is closing in on setting up his five official visits.
“I know I’m going to Washington, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Utah,” Mathis said. “Then it will either be Nebraska or Alabama. That will be a hard one.”
Mathis said UCLA is still in the picture, but he is intrigued by the idea of going away for school.
“You just have to get away, grow up and mature, so I’m going to do that,” Mathis said. “UCLA is still in it, but we’ll see where it goes from there.”