Already a stand-out football and baseball player for Marietta, Mathis committed to play football for Western Carolina University with the option of playing baseball as a walk-on.
“When I visited this place, I thought it was very adventurous,” Mathis said of Western Carolina. “All the personalities were the same as mine, the coaches and the football players. It felt the same as Marietta. I can come in here and start as a true freshman. They always got each other’s back.”
The 5-foot-10, 174 pound Mathis will be playing for Mark Spier, who was an Appalachian State assistant when the Mountaineers won three FCS championships from 2005-07, and is expecting to contribute as a receiver and return specialist in helping the Catamounts improve upon a two-win season in 2013.
“A player like Jordan is so crucial to that program because he can do so many things,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “He’s excited about the rebuilding of Western Carolina from an Appalachian State template.”
Jordan won’t see playing time on the diamond until his sophomore year. He said the baseball coaches want him to use his freshman season to get situated academically, but he is expected to dress in uniform for home games.
If he does join the baseball team in two years, he will join a team that won its ninth Southern Conference tournament championship last season.
Chattanooga, Austin-Peay and UNC Charlotte were also recruiting Mathis to play football, but the opportunity to play both sports at Western Carolina was too much to pass up.
Mathis had 42 receptions for 662 yards and eight touchdowns for the Blue Devils, who finished with an 8-3 record and earned a trip to the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
He is set to be the leadoff hitter for the Marietta baseball team, which is looking to continue the success from last year’s 22-4 team that made the second round of the state tournament.
Knowing he will have to budget his time to be a successful two-sport athlete, Mathis isn’t hesitant about the challenge.
“I can’t give up baseball just yet,” Mathis said. “Baseball has been my dream since I was 6. I just want to be that guy who can be a two-sport star and do it both ways.”
With his first baseball scrimmage nine days away, Mathis is in full baseball-mode. But he is logging in extra time on weekends to run routes and hit the weights.
After graduation in May, Mathis will bypass summer baseball to spend his free time with his family before he leaves for campus Cullowhee, NC on June 28.