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Gorman: Clairton's Mathews now on the receiving end

| Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For Trib Total Media
Clairotn's Aaron Mathews works on pass catching skills during practice on Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at Clairton.

Clairton had a conundrum with Aaron Mathews at quarterback last season.

It wasn't so much that Mathews couldn't throw the ball, but rather that he couldn't throw it to Aaron Mathews.

Wayne Wade played the position at Clairton, so the Bears coach saw the value of having the 6-foot-5, 180-pound junior split wide and starting senior Ryan Williams at quarterback.

“Ryan's arm is probably stronger. Is he more athletic? Probably not,” Wade said. “For what we do offensively, we'd rather have the stronger arm at quarterback and put the athletic guy at wideout.”

Now that Pitt, Akron, Temple, Toledo and West Virginia have offered scholarships as a receiver to Mathews, who made a bigger impact running the ball (1,034 yards and 15 touchdowns) than he did passing (515 yards, six touchdowns) last year, he knows his future is catching passes instead of throwing them.

“I like it more. More than quarterback,” Mathews said. “It seems like at quarterback you have to know way more stuff. You have to have a lot of stuff in your head before the play. At wideout, I just know I have to do my route and my blocking assignment. ...

“I feel like I'm most dangerous at wide receiver.”

Wade saw the same in seven-on-seven camps, and realized it benefits his other skill players.

“You're talking about a kid that's tall, very athletic and can jump,” Wade said. “Most teams are going to have to put a safety over him. Then it's hard because you've picked your poison.”

And it won't go down as easily as how Mathews picked his preferred position.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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