Five-foot-nine sophomore speedster Dior Mathis is fast on any surface. The dual-sport Oregon athlete competes on both the gridiron and the track for the Ducks, and this football season he has had a fast start out of the blocks. In a crowded Oregon secondary, Mathis is seeing his first significant time and is making the most of it, recording his first career interception for the Ducks against Tennessee Tech, almost returning the pick for a touchdown.
The Emerald caught up with Mathis to ask him some questions about his game and the Ducks’ defensive backs.
The secondary is now getting some notoriety for being better than it has in the past. How does it feel to get some love?
People have always doubted our secondary and have said that was one of the troubles of our defense. But I think this year we have really stepped up as a unit, and we are showing people we are a good secondary and a force to be reckoned with. We are helping our defense out, getting crucial stops on third down against good teams, and it is helping our offense get points.
How has losing senior leader and secondary star John Boyett affected the defensive backs as a whole?
When it first happened, it was a devastating loss, but it allowed guys to step up, like myself and others. We have to move on. John is a good player and we will miss him, but we’ve got to just play with the guys we have now.
You mentioned you have stepped up. What do you think you have contributed?
For me, I’m just bringing my cover skills. That is basically what I am, I am a cover corner, and I can also come up and tackle whenever they need me I come in and make plays.
You began here at Oregon as a cornerback. The coaches moved you to receiver for bit and now you are back at corner. Are you happy with your role?
Yeah, at the end of the day I am a corner. I have been playing corner all my life, and I am glad they moved me back here.
You are a pretty quick guy and you run track. Where do you rank for fastest guys on the team?
I really don’t know, man. As long as my name is mentioned, that is good enough for me.
Come on, give me the top five fastest guys.
I am going to to say De’Anthony. Obviously he is one of the fastest guys in the country. I don’t know, man. I don’t know where I stand when it comes to speed. I just try to be as fast as I can when I’m out there.