The first time Oak Park quarterback Dwan Mathis visited Michigan State, he was in eighth grade. Now set to enter his junior year, Mathis was already a known commodity back then. His potential led Cincinnati and Akron to offer scholarships before he even took a high school snap.
Mathis remained in touch with Michigan State’s staff, particularly quarterbacks coach Brad Salem, even through an early commitment to Iowa State. Mathis re-opened his recruitment, de-committing from the Cyclones last month, and on Wednesday the Spartans offered him a scholarship when he came to campus.
He called the offer a dream come true.
"It showed me that dreams come true. It truly took a lot of hard work and patience," he said.
Early success and early hype like Mathis experienced is never a guarantee of future success. Mathis played some at Belleville as a freshman, but transferred to Oak Park where he started every game as a sophomore, leading the Knights to a playoff appearance.
His size (6-4, 187 pounds) and athleticism, combined with a beautiful deep ball, make him an intriguing prospect, especially with two years left to play at the prep level. Early on, there were some schools that spoke to him about being recruited as an athlete. As his development at quarterback has continued, that possibility has gotten less and less likely.
When Michigan State offered, the staff made it clear how they see him.
"The strength coach spoke with me for a brief moment," he said. "So did Coach Salem and Coach Dantonio, and when coach offered me, he said, 'You have a full-ride scholarship to play quarterback here.’ They said I fit their style of play by being a dual-threat quarterback."
Mathis impressed enough on the summer camp circuit to add new offers from Pittsburgh and Boston College. He will be at Georgia, Alabama and Clemson this weekend, and will camp at Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights event the following week.
He will likely visit Michigan State again this fall for games. With two years left of high school, Mathis does not have to rush a decision. For now, he is happy knowing he has as many opportunities as he has, including his latest from the Spartans.
“It’s humbling because when I was younger, I used to watch guys on TV play and I was like, ‘One day, I want to do that,’” he said. “And now, I finally have an opportunity to live my dreams and do everything that I dreamed of doing.”
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.