Can’t blame Ryan Mathews for striking while the iron is hot.
Just a couple days after Mathews completed his junior season with the Bulldogs, he announced that he had signed with an agent and will enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Mathews led the nation in rushing with 150.67 yards per game and finished the season 1,808 yards and 19 touchdowns on 276 carries. He rushed for more than 100 yards in all but two games this season and he missed most of those games because of a concussion. It was by far the best season of his collegiate career.
Mathews told media after the double overtime loss to Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl that he was thinking of staying at Fresno State for his senior season, but a conversation with his coaches changed that thinking.
“Basically I sat down with Coach Hill and Coach Wade and asked them what was going on,” Mathews told the Fresno Bee. “Coach Hill said, 'I think you need to go. You've done what you needed to do here.’”
Hill’s recommendation is unusual, but it’s a prime example of Hill putting Mathews' best interest ahead of the team’s. Mathews not only plays a volatile position as a running back, but he has suffered multiple injuries while in college. He hasn’t gone through an entire season without missing at least one game because of an injury. This is the first season that he didn’t have an injury that nagged and limited him the entire year.
Mathews signed with agent Frank Bauer over the weekend. Bauer also represents Hill.
The Fresno Bee reports than Mathews likely will not finish the spring semester because he is not on pace to graduate at the end of the year. Mathews will instead use the time to train for the draft.
ESPN’s Scout’s Inc., has Mathews ranked as the No. 3 running back and 45th-best player overall.