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November 30, 2006One of the best players that many aren't aware of is three-star athlete prospect Ryan Mathews (5-11, 198, 4.5) from Bakersfield (Calif.) West. He ended up playing quarterback most of the year and still led the nation in rushing with 3,396 yards and had 44 rushing touchdowns.
"Ryan had to replace our quarterback when he was hurt," West coach Rich Cornford said. "It didn't work with him under center so after his first game at quarterback we put him in the shotgun and it worked. It worked so well that my quarterback led the nation in rushing."
With Mathews at quarterback, West ended their season with a 9-3 record and lost in the semifinal to Visalia (Calif.) El Diamante in a thriller 36-34.
"We have had some good players come through here," Cornford said. "But Ryan is head and shoulders above the rest. He's going to be playing pro football in four years."
"Everybody we played, knew he was getting the football, and they still couldn't stop him," Cornford said. "He's a downhill power runner and he hits the hole with mean intentions. Rarely does one man bring him down.
"Ryan can play in any offensive system," Cornford said. "Not only is he a great runner, but he's an excellent receiver coming out of the backfield. He didn't get too many catches this year because he couldn't throw to himself as a quarterback."
Mathews did end up throwing to other receivers for a total of 851 yards and 11 touchdown passes in seven games at quarterback. He's also a fine kick returner and returned one kickoff back for a score.
Mathews has offers on the table from Arizona State, Colorado, San Diego State and Nevada.
"I have set up visits with San Diego State and Fresno State in January," Mathews said. "I was going to visit Arizona State, but with the coaching change that is up in the air."
Nevada and Mathews set up an official visit today (Thursday November 30th).
Arizona State was recruiting Mathews as a defensive back while all the rest of the schools are recruiting him as a running back.
"I would refer to play running back," Mathews said. "It has been my dream to play running back in college."
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