2011-07-20 / Sports
Eagles’ Diaz waiting for his college football decision
This fall looms very large for a very big man. Matt Diaz, all 6-6, 265 pounds of him, is an offensive and defensive tackle for the Edison High School football team and, depending on his play — or more important, how college scouts assess his performance — Diaz could earn a scholarship to a major college.
He already has secured offers from Delaware and Eastern Illinois, which compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). However, Diaz is holding out for an opportunity to play for teams like Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Boston College, Maryland, Georgia or Connecticut, all of which have expressed interest.
“I’ve decided to wait until after I complete my college visits,” said Diaz, following a Friday workout at the high school. “Where I end upwill depend on what kind of scholarship I’m offered and how I feel about going there.”
The opportunity to be considered a major college prospect is something that has occupied Diaz’s mind since he first donned pads as a freshman. He vividly recalls the moment he decided that “I really love this game.”
“It was on Thanksgiving Day,” Diaz remembers, “and I was dressed for our traditional game against J.P. Stevens. When I walked onto the field with all the fans cheering, I realized playing football was what I wanted to do.”
That is why Diaz, even though he usually dominates opponents at his current height and weight, has worked hard during the offseason to bulk up even more.
“Matt’s potential is unlimited, and I expect him to receive more scholarship offers as college scouts watch him play,” says his coach, Matt Fulham. “All the coaches who have visited Edison tell me they are not only impressed by his ability, but how he projects himself. Matt’s a naturally friendly person, and that’s part of the total package you get with him.”
Diaz chuckles when told how others view him.
“Yeah, I like to joke around,” he says, “but when it comes to football, I get serious. Very serious.”
Diaz arrived in Edison in time to enter the fifth grade after moving from Perth Amboy. While he isn’t an A student, he has worked hard to earn a solid B average, certainly good enough to succeed academically in most colleges.
“My parents and coaches have always stressed the importance of achieving good grades,” Diaz says. “For me, I just stay focused in school and do the best I can in every class. I don’t find it difficult to balance football with schoolwork.”
On the field, Diaz can conduct his own class on howto play offensive tackle. With his quick feet, he uses his wide body to prevent shifty defensive linemen from entering the backfield.
“I sawMatt’s potential early on,” says Fulham. “I told him how much potential he had and that if he worked hard, he could become a college prospect. Matt told me my encouragement meant a lot to him, and you can see how motivated he is now to get that scholarship offer to a big school.”
Diaz is the son of Jose Diaz and Lenara Medina and has two brothers, Michael and Tyler.
“Actually, my extended family, my aunts and uncles, have been the important people in my life,” Diaz says. “They and my parents were the ones who encouraged me to start playing football, and they have been to all my games. What better way to represent my family than to succeed as a football player?”