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Irish A-to-Z: Jacob Matuska

Jul 22, 2014, 7:17 PM EDT

Jacob Matuska

A recruiting cycle before Notre Dame went hunting late for big bodies to play along the defensive line, they signed a player who might be able to fit that mold in 2014. Fresh off a redshirt, Jacob Matuska has the chance to add some much needed size and strength to Brian VanGorder’s defensive line, a group that’s mostly anonymous outside of Sheldon Day.

With veterans like Chase Hounshell and Tony Springmann getting the first look, Matuska might be a youthful option to provide some depth and take some snaps along the front four. Just where remains to be seen. Big enough to be either a tackle or a 3-4 end, Matuska’s a nice developmental piece who now has a chance to see the field.

Let’s take a look at the Columbus, Ohio native.


6’4.5″, 289 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 89



Another early target and commitment for the Irish (he pledged in March of 2012), Matuska didn’t garner much love on the star-meter, but did have offers from places like Michigan and Oklahoma. Some viewed him as a big-bodied tight end prospect. Notre Dame saw him as a defensive lineman.

“Another guy that can play in the profile that we have at the defensive line position for us but is also versatile enough that he can play on the other side of the ball,” Kelly said. “Our target is to play him on the defensive side of the ball.  He’s going to physically get bigger and stronger. We just like his work ethic.  We’re really excited about him as a person.  He’s going to fit in well here at Notre Dame, and another young man that really adds to the depth that we’re looking for in our program.”



Freshman Season (2013): Did not see action.



Until we see Matuska on the field, he can really only be viewed as unproven depth. He wasn’t the type of player that garnered praise during bowl prep, or stuck out during limited reps last spring. But the Irish coaching staff has done a good job identifying the defensive linemen they liked early, so it’s not entirely fair to assume that Matuska is going to be waving a towel on the sidelines, either.

There’s plenty to like about Matuska’s skill set. He’s a big guy. He played well-enough to be an All-Metro tight end for the Columbus Dispatch, while also receiving All-State kudos as a defensive end.

While he won’t have flowing red locks coming out of his helmet, he does remind me a bit of Tony Springmann, just from the fact that he’s an under-the-radar Midwest recruit that’s biggest asset is that he’s a gigantic human.



A profile player in Notre Dame’s last defensive system, Matuska will succeed in Brian VanGorder’s defense if he can rush the passer or make the transition to defensive tackle. Another place to watch Matuska is on offense — at the very least he could be the in-line blocker that doesn’t necessarily exist behind Ben Koyack yet. (Interestingly enough, Matuska’s wearing No. 89, an eligible jersey number.)

It’s hard to get a clear picture of Matuska the football player when we haven’t seen him yet. With fall camp starting in less than two weeks, we’ll see quickly if he’s in VanGorder’s 2014 plans or not.



The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes
Chase Hounshell
Torii Hunter Jr.
Jarron Jones
DeShone Kizer
Ben Koyack
Christian Lombard
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Nick Martin
Greer Martini


  1. johngaltisfelching - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    DEFINITE Great Northwest Athletic Conference talent. I would imagine Mike Dolby will be clamoring to add this guy to the Oakland Invaders after next year.

    • johngaltisfelching - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      google it

  2. dudeacow - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    I would assume ineligible numbers would include 344, 000, 689563, -12, and 53. Am I right?

    • shaunodame - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      Why’d you deny me on IG dude? Unless there’s an insane coincidence of names that was def you I found.

      • dudeacow - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Sorry, I didn’t recognize your screen name. My bad.

      • shaunodame - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:56 AM

        It’s all good my Irish brethren

  3. irishdog80 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    A team can never have too many big athletic bodies that can play defensive tackle. Based on a quick look at his TE film, I predict that Matuzka will score an offensive TD during his career off of a “trick” play. It will be tough for a DB or even LB to body up on a nearly 6’5″ 285 pound tight end especially when he would be regarded as a 4th or 5th option.

    • liv4nd - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      actually they can. Having too many big body, lower skilled players gets your team exposed in the NC. I know we cant fill a roster with all 4 and 5 star players…i wonder if Bama has so many “under the radar” guys.

      I hope BK is right about some of these guys. I have faith but the program NEEDS a 10 win season this year!!!

      GO IRISH!

    • irishdog80 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      Given our recent shortage of big bodied offensive linemen and defensive linemen…we had to limit full contact practices in the ramp up to the NCG against Alabama due to lack of depth…we still need more big bodies to fill a 3 deep. Right now, we are still thin on proven big bodied d-linemen though it should straighten itself out with the additions of Matuska, Cage and others to the program. If you recall, Kelly complained about our lack of depth on the lines and partially blamed our poor performance in the NCG on that issue.

      On another note, Chance Warmack and KLM were 3 star players out of high school.

  4. shaunodame - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Regardless of where he ends up on Defense I’d love to see him used as a goalline monster blocking TE, like the ones Stanford throws at us in bunches every year.

    On the DLine I think he has a bright future as either a 3-tech DT or a 1-tech Nose depending on how much more weight he can pack on in the next few years. I like the Springmann comparison too Keith. Depending on how he ends up playing and being used I could definitely see him becoming a folk hero of sorts amongst us fans. He’s a RKG if I’ve ever seen one.

  5. johngaltisspeaking - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    Anyone counting Rice a win better be prepared. ..Rice took Johnny Football to the 4th quarter to pull a win. WE come out like we did last year against template and only put up 28 get ready for a long year. IF we want to see a good year we need a bare minimum of 42 points on Rice.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:25 AM

      Oh wait that was Duke…. We need to score 60+

    • nudeman - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      The QB responsible for that Temple mess, audibling every play and slowing the offense down to a crawl is gone. New year, new QB, new tempo.

      Out goes the bad air, in goes the good.

      Just breathe, baby. Just breathe.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        nude, I love it….you didn’t mention him by name. Shows that you’re making progress in getting out of that long, dark period of your life. One step at a time and soon he’ll be only a footnote in our collective sports memory.

      • nudeman - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        I’m trying man. I’m really trying
        Not going to mention him by name today
        I’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 23, 2014 at 3:30 PM


  6. upthera44 - Jul 23, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Anyone know when the Fall weigh-in numbers (updated roster) are released? It will be interesting to see where Matuska clocks in..

    Also in general when does fall practice start?

  7. yaketyyacc - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:07 AM

    Matuska, the name sounds terrifying, like Nitsche, Budkas, Nagurski. hope I spelled them right. and he has the weight, strength and ability. no 89 at 289, the numbers sound great.
    Go Matuska, Go Irish

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      I think its Nitschke and Butkus but don’t quote me.

    • nudeman - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      That is some ridiculously bad spelling right there. Budkas?
      Don’t mess with Butkus. EVER.

  8. blackirish23 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Best part of that article…..”with fall camp starting in less than two weeks……!!!”

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Agreed. As much as I hate to see summer go, there is an upside.

  9. johngaltisspeaking - Jul 23, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    I just ran some numbers on 247Sports … Even if we land some top prospects which include:

    Soso Jamabo
    Equanimeous St. Brown
    Malik Lovette
    Asmar Bilal

    We are still only coming in around 254 which based on last year numbers we would rank about 12 to 14. Just to put it into perspective Alabama is currently has a class which totals a 294. We recruited way too many average players this year. Terrible job from our coaching staff.

    • upthera44 - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Stanford regularly gets classes ranked in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and consistently wins with what they have (as do others). I think ND fans should have realistic expectations about recruiting. Given the academic standards, specific culture around the program (i.e. values-oriented, not ‘flashy’), geography and climate, averaging around a 10th-ranked class in the nation over the long haul is a pretty stellar outcome. And it should be good enough to compete with elite programs if we really develop those kids, who are often smarter, harder working, more grounded.

  10. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 23, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Not to pick on Keith, but I’m disappointed in the roster review. IF the guideline for articles is alphabetical order WHERE is my buddy Charlie Fiessinger’s article. Dude makes a red cap look better than Pete Rose in a beer commercial and he doesn’t get any press time.

    Where’s the love? WHERE’S THE LOVE?!

    Rooooooooooodeee…………….Rooooooooodeee…………Rooooodeee……Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

    • don74 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      Heck yeah. Already read about the long snapper. Scout team QB and top signal caller not to mention Kelly’s game day right hand man.

  11. ajw21 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    Keith already stated that the articles are for the scholarship players and not the entire roster so walk ons don’t get mentioned.
    Go Irish!

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