LEESVILLE, LA (KPLC) - Leesville's Matthew Anderson loves the mauling and mashing that comes with playing offensive line. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Wampus Cat became just the second local product to commit to a Power 5 school in five years.
"Nebraska is known for its lineman and the pipeline with all the Remington and Lombardi trophies," said Anderson. "I'm looking forward to seeing how they are going to use me with my athleticism as an offensive lineman."
Anderson committed to the Huskers on his birthday via Twitter. But it's why he did it then, that makes his story special. It was his first birthday without his mother Denise, who died after a multi-year battle with breast cancer in February.
"I was really dreading the day and I didn't want to do anything or have anyone know it was my birthday. Not to have her here to celebrate my birthday was definitely a very sad moment for me," admitted Anderson. "I felt like I needed a little bit more positivity today to get through the day because it is a hard day not having my mom here."
She was his biggest fan… and continues to be Anderson's greatest motivator.
"She was my best friend and she went to every one of my games, even when she was sick. To see her battle through there and see her drive to watch me, it makes me not want to be mediocre in anything I do."
As a three-star lineman, Anderson isn't considered mediocre on the recruiting circuit. Anderson already holds offers from eight Division I schools heading into his senior season, but there was no passing up a chance to help revive the Nebraska tradition under first-year coach Scott Frost.
"They have had some down years, but with Coach Frost and Coach Austin and all the other coaches that have come into the program, I know for a fact they will get back to [smash-mouth football]. They haven't necessarily lost that style of play, but I feel like they may have lost the meaning and that's what they are getting back to."