The Story So Far:
Alexander Mattison is an excellent running back. According to those close to him, he’s an even better person. Mattison grew up in San Bernadino, California where almost one out of every three people live below the poverty line. San Bernadino also boasts a murder rate higher than the city of Chicago’s. His external circumstances never seemed to overwhelm his internal desire to excel at everything he put his mind to. As an elementary school student, Mattison enrolled in a dual immersion program which meant he learned all of his subjects in both English and Spanish, which he continued to do through high school.
His family fell on hard times, and they were homeless for a portion of his childhood. Many kids don’t make it out of environments like that. Mattison thrived. He graduated high school, bilingual, with a 4.67-grade point average and was the Winner of SoCal Prep Legends Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2015. Mattison won league titles in wrestling, shot put and the 110-meter hurdles. On the gridiron, he rushed for 4,074 yards and 48 touchdowns in his final two seasons.
Mattison had scholarship offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State, San Jose State, Washington, Washington State and Boise State. Damarea Crockett, the University of Missouri Running Back, was initially committed to the Broncos and Mattison displayed his team-first attitude by being willing to start his career on the defensive side of the ball as a safety if that meant the program would retain Crockett.
Crockett elected to go to Missouri and Mattison signed with Boise State. As a true freshman, he backed up current Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Jeremy McNichols. Mattison finished the season with 67 carries for 327 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. In his first collegiate game, he finished with 11 carries for 61 yards (5.5 yards per carry), and he scored a touchdown.
I’ve mentioned how intelligent Mattison is in the classroom. He displays that same intelligence on the football field. In the above clip, you can see how quickly he mentally processes that what initially appeared to be a hole where the left guard vacated was filled, and the correct read was to follow the pulling guard. He shows nice footwork and burst to re-route and score the touchdown. Mattison consistently displays quick feet and has outstanding cutting ability. He is a patient runner that allows plays to develop and has the athleticism and burst needed to create yards for himself.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 5, 2016
Here is another look at that run:
As a true freshman, Mattison measured in at 5’11” and two-hundred-six pounds. He had the necessary size and strength to be able to step in and compete right away. His game features a nice blend of elusiveness and power. In the below clip, he gets to showcase a bit of both.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 30, 2016
While in high school, Mattison regularly found usage out of the backfield as a pass catcher. Throughout his highlight film, he displays sure-handedness (but it was a highlight film, so I doubt they would include any drops) but he often let the ball get into his body. He has plays on tape from his highlight reel, 7 v. 7 camps and also at Boise State which show he can be a plus receiver with soft hands. The clip below shows one of his catches and also highlights his ability to break tackles.
Alexander Mattison laying the boom last night! pic.twitter.com/noOGhyGpbV
— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) October 21, 2016
The Story to be Told:
While doing some background on Mattison, I couldn’t help but be blown away by how articulate and poised he was throughout numerous interviews. Coupled with his ability to overcome a tough upbringing and I kept thinking he will be a great ambassador for football at both the college and pro levels. One reason why I think having an understanding of a player’s background is important can best be demonstrated by the jersey number Mattison wears – #22. That is the same number that current Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Doug Martin, wore at Boise State.
While there is little doubt about Martin’s ability on the field, some personal issues have prevented him from fulfilling his potential thus far. In Mattison, I see a polished young player that loves football. His high school coach had this to say about him, “His character is above and beyond, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime guy. I don’t think I’ll have another one like him. He said he’s not going to be like the culture here. His work ethic is over the top. Football, academics, it’s 24/7… He opened the door for our school, the next generation to see what’s possible. It’s there because of him.”
Mattison showed flashes of his tremendous potential last season. He is a great athlete with a really good head on his shoulders. With Jeremy McNichols moving on, there are 350+ touches up for grabs (hint hint college fantasy football players!) and Mattison will have the opportunity to shoulder as much of that load as he is able to withstand.
In 2016, he only had three games with double-digit carries, so his ability to be a workhorse at the collegiate level is unknown. If he can show he is capable of doing that, he will be one of college football’s top producers over the next couple of years, and I believe he will be poised to have a great NFL career. Former Boise State Running Back, Jay Ajayi, had a breakout season in 2016 for the Miami Dolphins. Mattison reminds me of Ajayi when I watch him. Mattison is one of my highest ranked 2019 Running Backs who I believe carries a high dynasty value. Few things in life are certain – death, taxes and Boise State Running Backs in the NFL.
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