East Pennsboro Senior No “Couch Potato”
East Pennsboro’s senior center Matt Couch had just gotten done with his fourth Division-1 football camp in the past 3 weeks.
He had gone to camps in Ann Arbor, Mich., Pittsburgh, and Happy Valley, and his latest excursion took him to Paolo Alto, Calif., on the campus of Stanford University.
“I think he was the only one (from the East Coast),” said Tom Couch, Matt’s father and a former Penn State lineman during the early 1980s.
“Frankly, I think he’s done well at all the camps,” his father said. “The big thing that these colleges want to see is can he move with the new size? He’s D-1 caliber size.”
However, as of tonight, Couch, a 6’2, 280-pound center for the Panthers, has only one Division-1 offer from the Naval Academy.
Here’s why: schools were interested to see how the younger Couch would move in his larger frame. Following his junior season, Matt stood in at 6’0 and weighed 240 pounds. Then he hit a big growth spurt.
“I grew 2 inches and added 30 good pounds of muscle,” he said.
And schools are showing interest. Take Stanford, for example, who expressed interest in Matt’s first two game tapes of his senior season.
Matt said he isn’t worried about the late start in the recruiting process.
“It can kind of help me,” he said, and his father agreed.
“For the most premier schools, it (a late start) hurts,” his father said. “But, in terms of choices, it helps.”
And, it also helps to be situated in good academic standing. Matt boasts a 4.0 cumulative GPA at East Pennsboro High, and in his graduating class of 260 students, he ranks 11th.
And speaking of climbing up the rankings, East Pennsboro could catch a few people by surprise this coming season.
It was 6 years ago that the Panthers fell in the District 3 “AAA” championship game to Lower Dauphin, who advanced to the 2002 PIAA semi-finals against Strath Haven.
The Panthers have fallen on some hard times recently, going a combined 11-19 the past 3 seasons, but they finished 2007 strong, winning 2 of their last 3 games and narrowly losing to Northern York, 32-30.
“I think we’ll be a good team,” Matt said. “We’ve got 3 seniors and 2 juniors on the front line, and we’ve got some good skill people as well. And, we’re all real tight. We’re all good friends.”
Tom Couch agreed.
“We’re gonna be a lot better team,” he said. “I heard Matt say there’s a lot of chemistry with this team, and the kids are all working very hard.”
And with what the Panthers have coming back, all that hard work might just yield some positive results.
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