This is the 29th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 29 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order.
[Profile by Ricobert1]
Josue Matias | 6'5", 320 | Sophomore | Guard
One of New Jersey's finest prospects as a lineman because of his size and agility...a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com who missed his entire senior season as he recuperated from a leg injury...ranked the No. 25 offensive tackle nationally and No. 9 best player in the state of New Jersey...rated the No. 13 offensive tackle by ESPN, No. 27 offensive tackle by Scout.com and No. 18 offensive tackle by 247Sports...named First Team All-Hudson Area by the Star-Ledger as a junior in 2009...No. 12 on the SuperPrep New Jersey 35...maxes out at 350 pounds in the bench press...became the second touted offensive lineman from New Jersey that FSU landed in two of the last three years joining Daniel Foose...Matias selected Florida State over Rutgers from a lengthy list of additional options...born January 6, 1993.
Career to Date
I had previously written that Bryan Stork & Toshmon Stevens tied for the most weight gained (52 lbs.) since enrolling at FSU. At 6'5", Josue Matias, however, will likely not be joining this crowd as he is already a large, large man. But not in the bad way. Rivals listed him at 290 in HS, but he's been at 320 since he arrived on campus last year. He has the build you'd find in a prototypical right tackle, but he's found a nice home at left guard (LG).
A quick note on OGs: The right guard (RG) will often be asked to double team with the center (C) or right tackle (RT). So the best run-blockers are often selected to play RG. LG is often left-alone, and asked to wall off the noseguard (NG) on run plays to the traditional (right-handed QB offense) strongside (right) by getting a good angle on him. LGs should be your best angle-blocker on the interior because of this. Being big and strong helps, but seal blocks are all about playing in space and reaching your blocks. FSU fans will fondly remember the play of Rodney Hudson at left guard from '07-'10.
On pass plays - FSU uses a lot of slide protections, so it varies who has help from the C. BTW, teams killed FSU in 2011 when FSU slide protected by using delayed blitzes from MLB. DT twists hurt FSU because its young guys got confused and overly committed to many bodies to one guy or let another guy go free.
Matias was listed as a lower-end 4* recruit from the 2011 recruiting cycle. What makes that interesting is that he didn't play a single snap his senior year due to a torn knee ligament. Whatever the scouts saw from his junior year was enough to keep Matias around the 20th rated tackle in the nation as a recruit.
Here's a free video from 247 Sports. Josue looks like a 3rd year player. Heck, he makes Trickett happy at the 0:37 mark. Trickett - happy!
What makes that even more impressive is that the video is from early August 2011. The guy had been through, what, 5 practices by this point? But alas, Matias was not perfect, drawing the ire of Trickett in FSU's open practice last year:
Matias is big, agile enough to play tackle, and made a start as a true freshman last year against Notre Dame. He got some snaps in against FSU's cupcake openers, as well as during FSU's 4-game ACC vengeance tour (Duke, UMd., NCSU, BC). With injuries and ineffectiveness mounting, Matias became one of four FSU freshmen to start against Notre Dame. And he didn't disappoint.
I wouldn't call his performance world-beating or perfect by any means, but you don't expect such from a true freshman starting his first game along the OL on national TV. Look back at the ND/FSU bowl game (above). At 2:45, he executed an ok block against a DT/DE twist/stunt pass rush; slide out with the twisting guard, and slide back to your right to absorb the stunting DE. Note he got cement feet on the DE stunt, and allows his guy to go by. An "A" for the 1st part of the block, "F" on the 2nd part. Fortunately, he provided just enough of a delay so that EJ could uncork a TD pass to Bert Reed. FSU's 2nd touchdown to R. Green early in the 4th quarter features Matias on the same block against the same DE/DT twist/stunt; see the 3:33 mark. Except this time, he trades off the twisting DT nicely (again) and textbook picks up the stunting DE, buying EJ an extra 1/2 second, and the rest is history.
What's his prognosis for 2012?
A lot can happen in terms of injury and performance prior to FSU's first game, but it is safe to say LG is Matias' to lose. Matias' awareness shown against ND is a good harbinger of this man's future. If he can avoid major injury, his future is extremely bright. I'm nit-picking here, but I would like to see a quicker 1st step and better drive-blocking from Matias in 2012. He has the size to do it.
In short, this is a very large man who is still learning his position but has - in limited action - shown he's not a liability due to his age. I think we can reverse-rate him as a high 4* OT recruit and, based on his ND performance, shows no lingering effects from his HS injury. One downside - and this is a program critique - is that we won't get to see how a 5th year Josue Matias would have performed at FSU, as he was pressed into action in 2011. Hopefully, FSU can develop the old man advantage it enjoys along its current defensive front along the OL in years to come.