Ventura (Calif.) Buena safety Kendrick Mathis (6-1, 182) is part of one of the finest football families in Ventura County history.
His uncle is former NFL All-Pro Eric Turner, who was an All-American at UCLA and a former star at Ventura High, where the field is named after him. Another uncle is former Washington cornerback Art Malone, who also spent some time in the NFL. Another uncle, Dewayne Mathis, signed with Hawaii and played at West Texas A&M and yet another uncle is Derek Swafford, who played receiver at Cal. Finally, his cousin E.J. Turner, is a defensive back at UCLA.
So Mathis is no stranger to success, even if most of the success in his own family happened at Buena’s archrival.
“Yeah, it’s kind of funny how my uncles and cousins all played at Ventura, but I’m kind of carving out my own name at Buena,” said Mathis.
Mathis was one of the standouts at last month’s Badger Elite 7on7 in Las Vegas, earning all-camp honors.
While he waits for his first offer, several schools are showing interest.
“I’ve been hearing from Oregon, Texas A&M, Boise State, Fresno State and UCLA,” said Mathis. “I also have interest in Cal, Washington and USC.”
UCLA has been one of Mathis’ favorites for some time, with his uncle and cousin there, and an aunt currently playing soccer for the Bruins.
“UCLA is right down the street and I’m real close with E.J. and my aunt (Amelia Mathis, a junior on the Bruins’ soccer team),” said Turner.
Oregon is also a school that Mathis has long been high on.
“Oregon is a really good school, and a school I have a lot of interest in,” said Mathis. “I know Troy Hill (who played at St. Bonaventure HS in Ventura), and he’s there. And Cliff Harris is my favorite college player.”
Mathis has played running back, quarterback, safety and cornerback, but thinks his future is at safety.
“I’d like to play free and just put on a little more weight,” said Mathis. “I’m good at stopping the run, but also good at keeping the ball out of the end zone.”
Mathis went to the Los Angeles Nike Camp and will be at the Passing Down 7on7 in Newport this weekend with Big Picture Athletics.
Academically, Mathis has a 3.3 GPA and will take the SAT this spring.
He’s planning to attend UCLA’s Spring Game and will likely camp at UCLA and at Oregon this summer as well as USC and potentially Cal.