MONROE, La. — Phidarian Mathis’ ascension toward the spotlight has been just about a year in the making.
It started last fall when former Neville High School (Monroe, La.) teammate Rashard Lawrence, now a defensive lineman for LSU, received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey. Then, Mathis sat in the audience watching in awe.
On Thursday, Mathis followed in Lawrence’s footsteps and beginning to carve out his own path to stardom when he received his All-America Game jersey.
This time, though, the spotlight was on Neville’s current star defensive lineman.
“It’s a blessing,” Mathis, a 4-star recruit, told SEC Country.
“To see Rashard doing it, I had a feeling of how this was going to feel. Now I got my own taste of it and I’ve got to take it and run.”
Mathis, who measures up to 6-foot-4 and 287 pounds, is less than three months away from traveling to Orlando, Fla., for the annual All-Star event.
Until then, he is remaining patient … just as he was last year when Lawrence was honored with his jersey.
“I’m waiting on my time to shine,” Mathis smiled. “It was amazing (to watch Lawrence). I was thinking: ‘That’s got to be me one day. It’s got to be me,’ and I made it happen.”
Mathis is almost ready to relish the moment.
Like his approach to the All-America Game, Mathis’ recruitment is far from over with, too.
Louisiana’s No. 8-ranked prospect continues to devote his attention to his senior season and a return trip to the Class 4A state championship game. That comes in between daily communication with both the LSU and Alabama coaching staffs, who along with TCU, are making the strongest pushes for the elite defensive lineman.
His former teammate went to the Under Armour game uncommitted, but Mathis plans to make a decision ahead of it — after his season, but before the game on Jan. 1, 2017.
Naturally, reuniting with Lawrence is a part of the equation.
“I don’t think I’m ready yet,” Mathis said of committing, “so I’m just taking my time and focusing on what I have to do right now to make that decision. Whatever happens, happens. It can be my own path, but I don’t know. It would be good to have him by me. I can my own man and he can be his own man.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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