The 90 Illini #49: Ben Mathis July 14, 2012
6′-3″, 200 lbs.
Junior (walkon, 2 years to play 2)
Springfield HS / Springfield, Illinois
ALE Ranking last year: #56
ALE Ranking in 2010: #72
What I Know About Him:
I’m getting a t-shirt. World’s Biggest Ben Mathis Fan. OK, so maybe his parents are bigger fans, but I’m at least top-3. This is the third time I’ve ranked him. And this will be the third time I say this: I think he eventually finds the field.
The kid never misses a tackle. He just doesn’t. Sure, he’s not the athlete that the scholarship safeties are, and he probably doesn’t have the closing speed of some of the true freshmen safeties. But the kid never misses a tackle, so I’m going to keep pimping him until he gets more than spot duty (he played in 3 games last fall).
Remember that play in the spring game where the safety collided with a receiver on the sideline and knocked the ball out of what would have been a big first down completion? Ben Mathis. Oh, and the tackle in the spring game on third and short that forced the Blue team to attempt the (eventual game winning) 48 yard field goal? Hey look, it’s Ben Mathis up in run support.
What I Expect From Him:
It probably hurts Mathis that Tommy Davis transferred in from Northern Illinois for one Maniscalco Year (yes, for the rest of time, when a player transfers in for one year of graduate school and plays right away, it will be a Maniscalco Year). Davis is a safety, so the order that used to be Sanni-Hull-PNY-Thomas-Mathis is probably now Sanni-Hull-PNY-Thomas-Davis-Mathis. But I still think the kid can contribute on special teams, if nothing else. Because he never misses a tackle.
Next year, with Sanni and PNY and Davis gone, there’s a chance Mathis plays a fair bit. Maybe even pushes for starters minutes. Yes, I know that’s pie-in-the-sky when talking about a walkon safety with three games of experience. But I don’t care. World’s Biggest Ben Mathis Fan. Kid deserves a shot.