Jermaine Mathews narrowed his list of 29 offers to just Cincinnati, Illinois, Rutgers, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Washington and Pitt a little over a week ago, and his first visit since was a trip out to Pittsburgh.
Mathews, a 6-foot, 175-pound three-star cornerback from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, made his first trip to Pittsburgh over the weekend for Pitt’s 2022 Blue-Gold Spring Game. He toured the Pitt facilities, watched the spring game and realized he’s a near-perfect fit in Pitt’s defense.
— Jermaine Mathews (@Jr2Maine) April 10, 2022
“They got a good defense,” Mathews told PSN. “The defensive scheme is something I think I could play in, and it fits me. … I think I fit well because that’s how I play. I think my playstyle is how they play corner. Most of their corners are built like me, so it’s even better to see how they play in it and the different ways they use their corners in their defense.”
Mathews recorded 44 tackles, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and two recoveries and even returned two punts for touchdowns during an All-City, All-Conference junior season, and it came about playing in a defensive system that plays a lot like Pitt’s. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the elite defensive backs at Pitt, honed through tough matchups on the field, have been high NFL Draft picks.
While the system is a fit, the coaching staff at Pitt, namely head coach Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator Randy Bates and defensive backs coach Archie Collins, has been the biggest factor in Mathews’ continued growth in building a strong relationship with Pitt.
“My relationship with the coaches, I think I have one of the better relationships with that coaching staff,” Mathews said. “They’ve been consistent also, I can say that. They’ve been consistent through the whole process, before they offered me, before I had any offers, they were always consistent.”
The relationship with Pitt, which resulted in an official offer on Jan. 25, was formed originally by Bates — after he visited Mathews during the middle of last year’s football season — and it’s been strong ever since. A big part of Mathews’ visit Saturday was just to get a feel for Pitt, for the chance of comparing with his other top contenders and narrowing down the list even further.
“I loved it,” Mathews said. “It was nice, everything was nice. It was different because they share a lot of the things with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so that’s different. And it was a good environment, good space, everybody was cool.”
After such a strong opening visit, his first to Pittsburgh, he plans to return this summer for an official visit. With visits to Maryland, Kentucky, Cincinnati and West Virginia among his contenders and more to Northwestern, Tennessee, Ohio State and Georgia Tech, Mathews has been busy.
After such a busy month of March, Mathews plans to take some time off in the coming weeks. With things settled down a bit, he’ll be able to evaluate what he’s learned in visiting some of his top contenders.
247Sports rates Mathews as the 526th-ranked recruit in the class, slotting him as the 35th-ranked cornerback and the eighth-ranked recruit from Ohio. Rivals hasn’t given him a national ranking, but he checks in with a 5.6 Rivals Rating and as the 69th-ranked cornerback and the 17th-ranked recruit from Ohio.
Mathews helped lead Winton Woods to a 13-3 season in 2021, capped by a nine-game win streak that ended with a state title in the OHSAA Division II playoffs. And by the time his senior season rolls around, he wants to be committed.
After taking a few official visits this summer, Mathews said that’s when he’s planning on officially making his commitment. And Pitt has ‘definitely’ cemented itself as a top contender.