Ranger cornerback Mathis commits to the University of Kentucky

MILES MARABLE III
Staff Writer 

The Southeastern Conference is considered the most dominant in Division I NCAA football. Teams from the SEC have won the last seven national championships. They produced 63 picks in the 2013 NFL draft.

Now a KC football player is headed to the SEC.

Sophomore cornerback Michael Mathis, 6-foot-2 inches, 210 pounds, has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky out of the SEC.

“Their coaching staff showed me love, and they believe in me, in what I have accomplished and what more I can accomplish up there than anywhere else,” Mathis said. “They have produced DBs that have gone to the NFL, so why not go to a school that I know can make my dream happen?”

The game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M this season stuck out the most to him, because it was his best game statistically.  Mathis forced three turnovers: a forced fumble and two interceptions — running one back for a touchdown.

“The coaches on defense were telling us we needed to make some plays to win the game for the offense,” Mathis said. “So I just kept in my mind that somebody has to make a play, and it ended up being me.”

Mathis graduated from Crosby High School in 2010 and signed with KC.

Head football coach J.J. Eckert saw the potential in Mathis and knew the sky was the limit.

“He was a guy that if you looked at him you knew he had an unbelievable upside,” Eckert said. “I remember when he first got here he was playing linebacker, and then you look at him today he’s committed to an SEC school to go play corner.”

Mathis did not play organized football until his senior year at Crosby. He was playing varsity basketball when the head football coach asked him to play football. After playing wide receiver for two games, Mathis switched to cornerback for the remainder of his senior year. At the end of the season Mathis was voted Second Team All-District.

Mathis will officially sign with UK Feb 5., and hopes to have even greater success at UK then he had at KC.

“I hope to do better than I did my two years here at Kilgore, and make sure my expectations are higher,” Mathis said.

Eckert has high expectations for Mathis as he enters Division I football.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him, and I’m really excited to see him have the chance to do what he can to do,” Eckert said. “He’s grown up a bunch since he has gotten here. He’s got to really focus on getting an education, working hard on his academics, which I know he will do.