Last Wednesday, Tony Mathis was signed, sealed, and delivered to continue his education and football career at the University of West Virginia. The star running back who made opposing defenses look silly will suit up as a Mountaineer next fall after he graduates from Cedartown High School in the spring.
Mathis was ranked a three-star recruit by 247Sports. In their composite ranking, he is ranked the number 60 running back in the country.
The 5’11 195 lbs athlete received scholarship offers from colleges including Louisville, Wake Forest, Purdue, Iowa State, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State among others.
In total, he was sought by 17 different programs from Division I programs.
The interest from universities should come as no surprise when looking at Mathis' accolades. He was recently named the Region 5-4A Offensive Player of the Year for 2018.
As his senior year came to a close with the Bulldogs, he provided on-field leadership to get Cedartown to a second straight playoff appearance, rushed for 1,042 yards on 169 carries, and scored 23 total touchdowns.
In 2017, he led the Cedartown rushing attack and return teams, being named the 2017 Region 5-AAAA Special Teams Player of the Year.
Cedartown head coach Doyle Kelley said the offer could not have been extended to a better person.
"Tony is just a great individual. He is a very humble kid; he is a hard worker and goes above and beyond," Kelley said. "As a coach, you want guys to give 100 percent, and that is what Tony does. He works hard in the classroom, weight room, and on the field, so I am positive he will be prepared for the next level."
Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Worthington added similar sentiments.
"Often times people will talk about schools ‘giving’ someone a scholarship, but that does not apply here. Tony earned that scholarship, it was not given to him," Worthington said. "For the past two years, he has been getting to school an hour early to work out, staying hours after school daily to practice, and he comes in on weekends and during the summer break to get in extra reps."
"Along with that, I have no doubt that Tony will do great at WVU. I know he will not call me saying, ‘Coach, practice it is too hard, I cannot make it’- this is because of the extra work he has put in over the years," Worthington added.
Mathis was joined at the signing by his mother Sabrina Moore and additional family members including Tommy Morris and Monica Pace.
He said that although he enjoyed the recruiting process, he is glad it is over in the sense that he gets to focus on his future at West Virginia.
“The recruiting experience was fun and exciting. It was a big blessing having all these schools reach out to me, but at the end of the day you only can choose one, and the best one for me is West Virginia," Mathis said. "Morgantown is a lot like Cedartown so it feels like home. The coaching staff and everyone there are so welcoming. I would rather be in a place where I feel welcome than anywhere else."
Mathis plans to major in Criminal Justice at WVU.
In West Virginia’s perennially-impressive offense, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital plan to use him in a variety of ways, both as a running back and a receiver out of the backfield.
Mathis said that the coaching staff called him a “total back,” meaning he could do it all for them- definitely worthy praise for a player of his caliber.
The West Virginia Mountaineers compete in the Big XII Conference in football, taking on the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas each season.
They open the 2019 season in a home non-conference contest against James Madison on August 31, 2019, which will be Mathis’ first game as a Mountaineer.