With Justin Fields by all indications on his way out of Athens Georgia found itself in deep need of a quarterback for the 2019 class.
We can mark that one done.
Michigan standout Dwan Mathis signed with the Bulldogs this morning after having been committed first to Michigan State then Ohio State. He also counted offers from Iowa State, Oregon, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
Recruiting services haven’t quite known what to make of Mathis. 247Sports ranks him the #9 pro style QB in the class and placed him just outside of their list of the top 247 recruits in America at #261. Rivals lists him as the #2 dual threat quarterback and has him just outside of the national top 100 regardless of position at #102. ESPN slots him as the #15 signal caller and the #299 player in America.
What is not in dispute is that Mathis is coming to Georgia with an eye toward the future. He told the Detroit Free Press that he’s aware Georgia has only one quarterback (slightly inaccurate at least for now, but he was rolling...).
Another eye-catching soundbite following Mathis’s commitment came from his father, who told AJC’s DawgNation that:
“Dwan understands the program and the role he has been recruited for, to learn from the current quarterback and not be divisive or cause any problems. He respects the head coach and Coach (Jim) Chaney and he is ready to come in and put his head down and go to work.”
Can’t imagine what that’s in reference to.
You can check out Mathis’s junior highlights below.
Admittedly there are only so many judgments one can make based on year old film. But I can see why Urban Meyer liked Mathis. He’s tall (6’5) with the ability to add good weight, which he’ll need to do to play in the SEC. But he’s elusive enough in the open field that he has to be accounted for as a runner.
He’s also get a strong enough arm to make the classic throws in the Urban Meyer offense, working screen routes and seams in the defense. I don’t think Mathis has a hand cannon like some Bulldog signal callers (definitely not on par with Fromm or Fields), at least not yet. But his power will improve if he continues to develop physically, and more importantly, cleans up some mechanical stuff.
Specifically, Mathis (like a lot of tall guys) has a naturally long delivery that will need to be tightened up. His leg drive on a lot of throws isn’t great either. He’s flicking the ball 40 yards downfield with nothing but arm. If he ever gets into the habit of methodically setting his feet and stepping into every throw he’ll be something else.
I’ve also had the chance to watch film of Mathis throwing in a camp setting. I came away with the impression that he’s good at distributing the ball. He makes good decisions and has a nice touch on the ball when he knows where he’s going with it.
Let’s be clear, if something happens to Jake Fromm in 2019 we’re still in a world of hurt. Seriously, truly and righteously hosed. Mathis is not ready to take significant snaps leading an SEC contender. He does have the physical tools however to grow into that role in a couple of years, which is exactly what Georgia needed in this class.
The Bulldogs will likely go after an elite quarterback in the 2020 class, setting up a QB battle in 2021 to replace Fromm. In the interim however Mathis is going to be an interesting player to keep an eye on. Until later...