Posted: 12:04 am Thursday, August 12th, 2010
By Jeff Greer
Sometimes, coaches get a nice gift in the preseason, an unexpected standout player who ends up playing a major role for the team in the fall. For Park Vista coach Brian Dodds, Matt Rodriguez is about as good a gift as he could get.
After Summit Christian football coach Brian Coe recently resigned, Rodriguez decided to transfer to Park Vista. But this isn’t just any old transfer. Rodriguez is 6-4 and 220 pounds of pure muscle, and the tight end adds a new element to Park Vista’s already-impressive offensive attack. He’s an agile athlete — Rodriguez was a baseball player at Summit and played center field for the Fighting Saints. Dodds said Rodriguez can run routes and catch passes anywhere on the field or stay home and block for Mason.
Dodds already has three BCS-level players lining up on offense. Senior running back Tre Mason (5-10, 190, No. 6 on the Big Board) gets to run behind tackle Mike Matulis (6-6, 260, No. 9) and guard Cody Preble (6-5, 270, No. 10). But now, with Rodriguez at tight end, Dodds can use the threat of his team’s lethal running game to expand his passing attack through play-action. It only helps that Rodriguez is another big body to block for Mason.
“This kid is a stud,” Dodds said. “We’re so lucky to have him. He’s the first transfer in my five years as coach to come here.”
Rodriguez, who regularly hangs out with Mason, Matulis and Preble, said he was excited to play for his new team. The familiarity with the program and its players made the transition relatively easy for him.
“I just pounced on the opportunity to come over here,” said Rodriguez. “I know a lot of these guys already, and there’s just more equipment, it’s a bigger team and there’s more exposure.”
The big tight end already has a scholarship offer from UCF. Dodds said the Golden Knights love the idea of Rodriguez as a big blocking tight end who can get up and down the field and double as a passing threat. Still, Rodriguez said that while he likes UCF so far, he’d like to go through the season and hear from more schools before making his choice.
From Dodds’ early, glowing reviews of his new tight end to Rodriguez’s raw physicality and potential, it seems like more offers will come rolling in — soon.