Many were surprised - myself, included - to see Giorgio Newberry move his 6'6 280 pound frame on over to tight end. Some had speculated he could move to offensive tackle, but there is doubt he could play the position at his size.
Conversely, no one questions Josue Matias' size.
Matias played his Senior year of high school football at 290, but arrived at FSU weighing in at 320. Credit Vic Viloria and staff for getting Matias those two needed pounds and earning an honorable mention All-ACC for his play last season. On top of that, the sophomore received honors in December for his classroom achievements along with then-sophomore Rashad Green.
As a true sophomore, he started all 14 games for FSU at left guard.
Led all Seminoles in knockdown blocks (31).
Registered 3+ knockdowns in 7 games last year.
Graded out at 79.1% on the season, but graded out at 82% or better in each of his last regular-season games.
Season high grade came against Duke (91%). No word on whether Duke will be pressing charges.
In addition, Matias helped pave the way for a rushing attack that averaged 5.62 yards per carry (sacks not removed). That is FSU's highest rushing average since the 1995 squad, which averaged 5.8 YPC featuring a certain young player named Warrick Dunn.
Matias' most difficult match-up came against future 23rd overall pick Sharrif Floyd, who spent most of the 2012 season doing just about whatever he wants.
Here are some snippets from his performance against UF. Matias matched up frequently with Floyd, and the results were generally good.
But here, Floyd shrugs off Matias like your attending a friend's Fall wedding.
It's tempting to call this a hold. But Matias gets outside Floyd initially, engages, and uses his immense strength to contort the body of Floyd who is now trying to pursue the QB who is rolling out.
Why is this a borderline hold? Because Matias grabs Floyd's shoulders to control Floyd. This is flaggable. However, Matias pulls the jersey shoulders to roughly an inside-the-shoulders position. Basically, you can tackle a guy if your hands are on his jersey numbers. The reward here is a hearty bear breakfast pancake.
Matias catches Floyd guessing right. And the reward is another pancake of Floyd.
Matias has all the tools, demeanor, and physical ability to be a dominant left guard this year. Matias doesn't take plays off. He has enough acumen to slide out to tackle like Hudson did vs. Kentucky in '07. But won't be asked to do so - Trickett likes his interior set first in his zone-blocking scheme.
It's hard to pinpoint where he could improve, because he shows good technique in his reach blocks, pulling and trapping, and pass protection. Look for him to refine that technique this year further.
In terms of opponents, lighter playmaking DTs like Aaron Donald from Pitt, Dominique Easley from UF, and Nikita Whitlock from Wake - players whom he'll outweigh by 37, 42, and 72 pounds, respectively - will most test his agility.
Matias is currently ranked the #7 offensive guard for the 2015 draft class, and if he can avoid major injury should end up as an early pick, given his development. His agility is remarkable. He reminds me of a bigger and stronger version of Rodney Hudson. His floor/ceiling in development is such that he could leave for the NFL early - though it would drop him a couple of rounds, and is unlikely as guards rarely leave school early.
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