HAZEL PARK, Mich. — Dwan Mathis is trying to build up his resume.
The Oak Park (Mich.) sophomore quarterback only played about 20 percent of the time last year. That’s still pretty good for a freshman, but that also means his highlight tape is somewhat slim. This season has been about building his film.
Mathis already reports offers from Iowa State and Kentucky, and he had a tentative plan to visit Kentucky before Oak Park won its first-round playoff game. But maybe some more film from the now-starting quarterback will add Michigan State to that list.
At least, that’s what Michigan State freshman quarterback Messiah deWeaver, whom Mathis met through the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy, hopes for.
“Messiah’s been telling me that they need to offer me so I can come home,” Mathis said.
Home because it’s a relatively short trip from Oak Park compared to the other schools that have offered. Home because he’s friends with Spartans players like deWeaver and freshman wideout Donnie Corley.
Home because he’s been taking visits to Michigan State since long before he stepped onto a high school field to play for Oak Park.
“The first time I went up there, I was in sixth grade,” Mathis said. “It’s like a family up there. I’ve been knowing them for so long.”
The latest visit came Saturday. Mathis made the trip up to East Lansing for the rivalry game against Michigan. He was joined by his teammate, 2020 offensive lineman Justin Rogers, who also hopes to receive an MSU offer.
Mathis will have at least one more chance going forward to add to his highlights, but that’s not the main priority. He wants to prove against Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High, one of the state’s top teams, that his Oak Park squad deserves to be named among the best.
“I’ll put my guys against anybody,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. IMG (Academy in Florida), any of those top schools, I’ll put my guys against them. I think we’ve got the best team in the country.
“We’re trying to put Oak Park on the map. I play to put on for my city right here. Oak Park. This is who I put on for. I’m trying to get us to Ford Field (for the state championship game), something the school has never done. I’m trying to make history.”
To do that, he’s making sure to play within himself and stay true to himself. No gimmicks. Ask him whom he plays like or after whom he models his game, and you’ll get a poignant answer.
“I’d say I’m the best me I can be,” Mathis said. “You can’t play like nobody else. You’ll be in the wrong frame of mind. You’ve got to play like yourself because God gave you your gift, so use it. Everybody’s got their own gift.”