Syracuse (N.Y.) Christian Brothers defensive end McKenzie Mathews has announced his top four. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder is predominately looking at staying close to home.
"Right now, my top four are Ohio State, Michigan, Pittsburgh and North Carolina," he said. "They all have good academic systems set up and they are all either good schools or striving to become better. North Carolina isn't a powerhouse, but they are putting an effort forth to be better and they are recruiting me the hardest which interests me a lot. I like Ohio State because defensive lineman Will Smith went there and he went on to the New Orleans Saints. Mike Hart went to Michigan and is doing pretty good there and I finally got an offer from them. I went to an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh over the summer and they have good facilities and I like the campus a lot."
The No. 6 prospect in New York is still hoping to see a few more offers.
"I'd like to see some offers from Maryland, Iowa, Penn State, Notre Dame, Boston College and Miami," he said. "I think Notre Dame, Miami and Iowa would all jump into my top five if they offered."
Has Mathews begun to consider official visits?
"I've been thinking about it and I'm looking at going down to Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State," he said. "I've also considered unofficials to Pittsburgh for the Notre Dame game and Syracuse for the West Virginia game. I plan to take all five visits hopefully during the season, or at least I'll try."
What made the three-star prospect decide on those three official visits?
"Alabama was one of the first schools to offer me and I feel I should go down there and check it out," he said. "The Michigan/Ohio State game is one of the top five rivalries and that's the game to go to. I also really like both of those schools, but I'd still say that any school that offers me has a good chance for an official visit."
Mathews is currently preparing for the first game of the season on September 3rd.
"We won the state championship last year and we want to win another one this year," he said. "Obviously I want to do better and I've been watching film to figure out where I can make improvements to my game. I think I have good technique, but I could work on it more. I'm also getting faster and quicker. I've lost a lot of body fat and gained muscle, I'm just more mobile now and I read things better because I watched film. I plan to be a leader on the defense and take the game into my own hands."
Mathews accounted for 45 tackles, 10 for loss, 13 sacks and five deflections as he was named honorable mention all-CYN and second team all-state. The prospect is also a solid student with a 3.15 GPA.