April 17, 2007

Concord's Mattes talks frontrunners, visits

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MATTHEWS, (N.C.) - Arguably the elite offensive line prospect in the Tar Heel State was among the many touted recruits at Sunday's Rivals.com Junior Day held at Butler High School. R.J. Mattes, out of Concord (NC) Robinson, met with Tigerillustrated.com and discussed his latest thoughts on his top three - which includes Clemson.

"I've been (to Clemson) twice now," Mattes entailed. "(Just last Monday on April 9th on an unofficial visit) I got to tour the entire campus with (tight ends) coach (Billy) Napier. I really enjoyed the visit with the academic advisor. They are basically a coach for academics."

"I went with the o-line coach (Brad Scott) to a restaurant near the golf course. We just sat down there and ate lunch and he told me that I'm the top priority. He wants me there at left tackle," Mattes continued. "I got to meet Landon Walker, the right tackle. He seemed really cool. I just felt comfortable down there. It basically put Clemson on top of my list."

The 6-foot-7, 262-pound offensive tackle shared his leader board, indicating that there's a trio of favorites and not simply one.

"(Clemson is) up there right now, not in a particular order, but they are up there in my top three (with UNC and Virginia)," he admitted.

His dad Ron Mattes played at Virginia.

"Growing up, going to the games all the time, going back for reunions there," the tackle detailed. "I've always gone up there. They were the first ones to offer me. Of course I've got roots there but that doesn't necessarily mean they are my favorite at all. It's up in the air right now (where) I'm going to choose. I'm not sure if (Al Groh) is going to be there with the way things are going right now, so that might influence me."

North Carolina's new coaching staff also has made an imprint.

"I was really impressed with (Butch Davis') coaching staff," Mattes noted. "(Offensive line) coach (Sam) Pittman is up there. He calls and texts all the time. He wants me there, but I don't know if I'm going to choose them or not because of their past so I don't know."

Two other programs that have offered are still on the radar, slightly outside the trio of favorites.

"South Carolina and definitely NC State - I went up two days ago (Friday the 13th) and met (head coach) Tom O'Brien," the standout said. "He coached my dad when he was at UVA; my dad and he are tight. I got to talk to him and go around the campus and stuff. I like NC State a lot, too."

What exactly does the left tackle prospect hope for in a school and when is he looking to commit?

"I want to be comfortable with the coaches, which I am (with) at Clemson, of course," he pointed out. "I want to have the right academics there and have my major there. And just go to a winning program. I don't want to be on a losing program. (I'm going to take my) official visits right before football season and in the fall, right about that time is when I'm going to make my decision - September."

Mattes will be at this Saturday's Nike Camp in Athens, Georgia. He plans to camp this summer at Virginia, Clemson and North Carolina State and may attend one at North Carolina, too.

At last Saturday's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas combine held at AC Reynolds in Asheville, the big man indicated that he recorded a 5.09-second 40-yard dash, a 4.60-second pro shuttle, and a 24.8-inch vertical jump.

He didn't bench press because of an injured wrist. Mattes maintains a 3.5 GPA.

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