With the emergence of NFL stars like Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, and Julius Thomas, tight ends are a hot commodity at every level of football it seems like now more than ever. Arizona’s top high school tight end is not from a school that produces Division-I talent often, but may start doing so soon.
Yuma Catholic’s Matt Pistone is probably the city’s most recruited football player ever. Pistone had garnered offers from Washington, Vanderbilt, and Boise State, but the Shamrocks’ star made his verbal commitment to Oregon State last July.
“Oregon State I thought was the best fit. They run a lot of double tight end formations, a lot of their pro-style offense. That’s the offense I feel I fit best in,” Pistone said.
With 12 receiving touchdowns on the season, the tight end and defensive end sets the tone for undefeated Yuma Catholic. As the Shamrocks sit atop Division-V, they put up 49.6 points per game, while their defense only gives up 17 per game.
“He’s a big, giant target out there on the perimeter when he’s out there trying to catch the ball and there’s little corners trying to cover him,” Yuma Catholic Head Football Coach Rhett Stallworth said.
“That helps to have a trump card every once in a while making plays.”
While Pistone knows he has areas in which to improve for the collegiate game, he has kept focus on the upcoming state playoff push.
“Those are some of the best players around, definitely the best players in the country. That’s why they’re Division-I athletes,” Pistone said. “I’d like to work on my speed, my strength. I’d just like to stay healthy the rest of the year and worry about that after the season.”
Pistone’s success has brought new attention to the city of Yuma, but he is not the only one Division-I colleges have called about. Wide Receiver Donovan Rooks, another target with 10 receiving touchdowns on the year, was recently offered by Army and has been talking with other schools as well.
Stallworth said Yuma has never been a “hotbed” for high school football recruiting, but with more recruits like Pistone and Rooks, that could change very soon.