WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - When Joe Mathis visited Nebraska, he had to change hotel rooms because fans caught wind where he was staying and kept knocking on his door telling him to join the Huskers.
When he visited Michigan, he posted a message on Twitter that he would be eating dinner at the local Buffalo Wild Wings.
That was a big mistake.
"People were coming up to me the whole time," Mathis said. "I was treating them all with respect saying, 'How are you doing sir? How are you doing ma'am?' and they were like, 'You don't have to say that. We love you out here.'
"I thought out here (in California) was big with football but that stuff was big. People think you're a celebrity. I was in my hotel room and people were knocking on the door telling me to go to Nebraska. How do they know my room? We had to change rooms."
Mathis, the top defensive lineman at the Southern Cal Rivals.com Showcase Powered by FBU Select last weekend at Oaks Christian, has a top three of Nebraska, Michigan and Washington.
The 6-foot-4 four-star defensive end had been committed to the Huskies early in his recruitment, then backed out. Washington is among his favorites again mainly because of defensive line coach/defensive run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi.
Rated as the sixth-best strongside defensive end and No. 71 prospect in the 2013 class by Rivals.com, Mathis has already taken an unofficial visit to Washington and plans to return in a few weeks.
"The reason I'm so interested is because I have a great relationship with Coach Lupoi," Mathis said. "He's one of the best D-line coaches. He's young and he knows how to talk to us. He's cool and he's going to make us work hard."
Mathis is a wanted man.
Michigan, Nebraska and Washington are the top three for the four-star but he still hasn't narrowed down his list and said he probably won't be able to have a top five.
The Upland, Calif., star said he'll probably whittle his list to eight, take his five official visits and then make his announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
"I'm thinking about what's the best situation for me with the academic support, the living style and getting along with the players," Mathis said. "That's what I'm really looking at. I'm just trying to be where it's like home.
"I'm still trying to look at schools. I don't think I'm going to have a top five. I'm going to have a top eight because there are so many. I want to see if other schools are offering."
More than recruiting in the past few weeks, Mathis has been working on trimming down and he's already lost 23 pounds. He checked in at the Rivals.com Showcase at 6-feet-3 and 245 pounds, and his extra quickness was an asset during one-on-one drills.
What's most impressive about Mathis is that he's lost none of his power as he bull-rushed some linemen, used his hands and speed well and dominated in drills. There was not one lineman who really had a chance slowing Mathis down.
His focus will turn to recruiting soon.
He's already taken unofficial visits to his three frontrunners. With more than 40 offers, Mathis has a lot of considerations to make to narrow his list to eight.
It could be difficult but Mathis has never turned down a challenge.
"It's hard," Mathis said.
"I'm trying to figure out which schools I'm going to take a visit to because I can't say I like a school if I haven't been there. It's been hard so far."
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