The defense of the TCU relies on Ochaun Mathis de Manor in 2021
ARLINGTON – When Ochaun Mathis stepped onto a podium at AT&T Stadium on July 14, he did so both as a TCU football player and as a moderator.
During most breakout sessions on Big 12 media days, reporters would shout questions at each other and scramble to get the attention of the player or coach being interviewed. But at the start of his 30-minute session, Mathis seemed to be getting bored of this exercise.
The 6-foot-5, 247-pound defensive end therefore took control of his own press conference.
Mathis pointed to a reporter who was trying to ask questions about his hometown of Manor. He then called someone who was curious if he had been vaccinated. He then turned his attention to a reporter who wanted to know if TCU had an advantage against Texas Tech in October, now that former Horned Frog assistant Sonny Cumbie is the Red Raiders’ offensive coordinator. The reporters surrounding Mathis quickly lined up, started to raise their hands and waited their turn.
When told this story, TCU coach Gary Patterson described Mathis as a “considerate kid” who wanted to accommodate anyone with a question. Mathis said leading his press conference put him in a comfort zone.
“I think it’s more my personality and just taking things in hand makes me feel comfortable,” he said.
TCU, chosen to finish fifth in the Big 12 preseason poll, will need Mathis to use that change-on-the-court approach this season. Joining defensive back Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Mathis was one of two Horned Frogs to make the pre-season All-Star squad.
Mathis just finished a 10-game season in which he totaled nine sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. Those nine sacks are fifth nationally, and only 11 Football Bowl Subdivision level players have on average more quarterbacks eliminated per game. The bags were also in the top 10 of the TCU record books.
Eight of Mathis’ sacks have been recorded in the last five games of the season.
“Obviously such a talented player,” said TCU quarterback Max Duggan. “We are fortunate to only have to face him in training, not in a game.”
Of Mathis’ 11 ½ career sacks, 9 ½ came to a conference. The sight of Mathis crushing the quarters of the Big 12 is likely familiar to anyone who violated District 14-6A in 2017.
In his final year at Manor High, Mathis recorded 16 sacks. He shared the District Defensive MVP award and also took home honors from All-Central Texas.
A three-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle, Mathis joined TCU in January 2017. Oklahoma offered a scholarship that spring, but Mathis kept his promise.
“I feel like I owe Ochaun a lot because he came on his spring visit, he made a commitment to us and he never took another visit,” Patterson said. “It’s really rare these days.”
In the past, Patterson has claimed Mathis could become one of the best defensemen to ever play at TCU. Patterson, who has been running the Horned Frogs since GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl 2000, did not back down when reminded of this statement during the Big 12 Media Days.
Now Mathis is not yet Jerry Hughes or Aaron Schobel. He still has work to do if he wants to be included in the same sentence as LJ Collier and Ben Banogu, both of whom were drafted the year after Mathis arrived on campus.
But he’s working to get there. He told reporters he wanted “to be a complete player”. Becoming as comfortable on the pitch as he was on the podium at Arlington is also something he would like to achieve.
“Like a lot of things, I’ve learned to be fundamentally comfortable with being uncomfortable in situations,” Mathis said. “Being able to go out there and perform with whatever you build” is a goal.