Nate Matlack made it unofficially official with Kansas State last night when he gave the Wildcats his verbal commitment.
Note: I’m using the 247 Composite Rankings
Matlack is a 3-star (0.8627 247-rating) 6’4, 211 pound defensive end from Olathe East High school. He is currently considered the 626th best player in the nation overall, the 25th best weak side defensive end, and the 6th best player in Kansas. Buddy Wyatt was his primary recruiter, but the entire staff pitched end to land Wildcats first verbal commitment of 2020. Kansas State was able to beat out offers from Kansas, Syracuse, Air Force and growing interest from Iowa, Iowa State and UCLA for his commitment.
Matlack’s commitment is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, he’s a good football player. His current ranking would put him as the 6th highest rated player in the 2019 class, and Matlack is a player with the potential to quickly climb up the rankings as he grows into his 6’4 frame. At 211 pounds, he’s undersized for the defensive line, but he’s got plenty of time to fill out. If Matlack can maintain his speed and explosiveness at 230+ pounds, he has the potential to a game changer coming off the edge.
The first thing that stands out on this film is Matlack’s motor. He’s a true sideline to sideline player, capable of rushing the passer and getting outside and covering screens. He plays from whistle to whistle, and doesn’t give up on plays going away from him or down the field. That sort of hustle, in my opinion, can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t and Matlack has it in spades.
I also like how he uses his long arms to gain separation from blockers. At 210, he needs to keep blockers off his body so he can utilize his speed and quickness. He does that by getting his arms extended early, allowing him room to work. This will be a useful skill in his college career, because I anticipate him always being on the lanky side.
Finally, he’s got solid speed and athleticism for the position. He’s a “try hard” player, but he’s a “try hard” player with plenty of athletic ability. Much like the majority of the 2019 class, Matlack is a player with intriguing physical abilities that can be developed and molded by the coaching staff.
Getting into the Kansas City area is a priority for the new Kansas State staff, and Olathe fits into that strategy. The more players the Wildcats can pull from the Kansas City area, the easier it will be to pull even more players from the Kansas City area. Getting one of the top players in the state on board early should help in that endeavor.
Speaking of getting in early, getting Matlack to verbal is important for the Wildcats, because it’s getting a little late in the “early verbal commit” game. Kansas already has 4 commits, including 2 in state commits. It’s nothing to stress about, but having a guy on the board who can subsequently help recruit other players is big.
This staff is still playing catch up around the state, and any extra help they can get from current recruits will be vital.