Army Bowl: Joe Mathis chooses UW

SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 300 defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) once thought he’d be a star basketball player. Even before then, he wondered if he’d be around to see an event like the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Mathis on Thursday reflected on life decisions made during his earlier years in high schools. He never thought two years later, he’d be announcing where he would play college football on national television. On Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound end verbally committed to Washington.

Mathis chose the Huskies over offers from USC, UCLA and Alabama. He is No. 251 in the ESPN 300 and the No. 22 defensive end.

“God blessed me with something I didn’t know I had,” Mathis said. “My life wasn’t headed the right way. Freshman and sophomore year, I was doing the stuff I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I finally changed it around.

“I thought I was going to be a basketball player, but I’m really happy I went this way.”

In addition to being a standout defensive end, Mathis also is a four-year varsity basketball forward. He said once he stopped growing, he began to lift weights and focus more on football.

“Best decision I ever made,” Mathis said.