Clairton's Mathews changes commitment from Penn State to Pitt

Clairton quarterback Aaron Mathews (1) is tackled by Berlin Brothersvalley's Toby Cahill during a PIAA Class A quarterfinal playoff game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, at Conemaugh Township.
Clairton quarterback Aaron Mathews (1) is tackled by Berlin Brothersvalley's Toby Cahill during a PIAA Class A quarterfinal playoff game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, at Conemaugh Township.
Photo by Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Jerry DiPaola
| Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, 6:45 p.m.

Clairton's Aaron Mathews changed his mind from his Penn State commitment Monday and told Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi he will sign with the Panthers on Wednesday.

“I get to play wide receiver,” Mathews said. “That's what I always wanted.”

Penn State was recruiting Mathews (6-foot-5, 188 pounds) to play safety.

Mathews played quarterback at Clairton, leading the Bears to the WPIAL Class A championship last season when he was named all-state as an athlete.

As a junior in 2014, Mathews was an all-state wide receiver, leading Clairton to the PIAA title game and a runner-up finish. He recorded 44 receptions for 773 yards.

“They taught us how to win,” Mathews said of the Clairton coaches. “I hope I carry that over to college.”

At one time, Pitt had filled its quota at wide receiver in the Class of 2016 after receiving verbal commitments from four-star prospects Juwann Winfree and Ruben Flowers and three-star Maurice Ffrench. Not long after Winfree committed, Mathews accepted a Penn State scholarship offer Jan. 2.

But when Pitt's coaches decided to discontinue their recruitment of Winfree, a junior college transfer who was suspended twice at Maryland in 2014, a spot opened up at wide receiver.

Winfree said Monday he decommitted from Pitt and is considering Colorado and Memphis.

“I wanted time to rethink my decision,” said Winfree, who committed to Pitt in December. “It's a life-changing decision. (I) wanted to make sure I was going somewhere I wanted to be, in my heart.”

Mathews is ranked the 14th overall prospect in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com, which also lists him 50th as an athlete nationwide.

“He's very strong and not a slender 6-5,” Clairton assistant coach Eric Fusco said. “I think he will challenge for playing time (this season).”

If Mathews signs with Pitt on national letter of intent day Wednesday, he will take a route to college similar to the one traveled by Clairton's Tyler Boyd, who was mainly a running back in high school before becoming a two-time All-ACC wide receiver.

Boyd played three seasons at Pitt, setting school records for receptions and yards receiving, before declaring early for this year's NFL Draft. Fusco said Boyd has received an invitation to the scouting combine later this month in Indianapolis and is working out in Anaheim, Calif.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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