When you watched Collin Matteson play during his impressive career at Oklahoma Christian School, you couldn’t help but notice the talent.
The do-it-all senior dominated on offense, defense and special teams.
He consistently made big plays, showing off his athleticism, speed and ability.
He was the ultimate game changer for an OCS squad that finished 12-1.
But what you didn’t see was all the hard work put in to make him such a special player.
On Wednesday, Matteson’s hard work finally paid off as he fulfilled a lifelong dream by signing his letter of intent to play football at Army.
Matteson had an incredible career at OCS, as he finished with over 3,500 yards combined rushing and receiving as well as over 50 career touchdowns.
But the 6-foot, 175-pound athlete took a big leap in his senior season, as he was a threat all over the field for the Saints.
Matteson averaged 10 yards per carry, totaling 807 yards and 13 TDs on the ground and added 36 catches for 808 yards and 12 scores receiving.
He was also a force from his safety position, which is where he will play at Army.
Matteson had 127 tackles and eight interceptions in his senior season. He finished his career with 237 tackles and 24 picks.
He was recently named the District 2A-1 Player of the Year by the district coaches.
“This year was special,” Matteson said. “I’m glad I was able to go out and improve on top of my junior season. There are some plays our team made that I’ll never forget.”
That he did, as Matteson had several huge games, being honored as the statewide player of the week several times.
He arrived at OCS in 2018 as a freshman and got right to work, impacting one of the top programs in Class 2A.
“My high school football career at OCS was incredible,” he said. “I have absolutely no regrets coming to OCS as a freshman. I made great memories with my teammates that I won’t forget.”
But to arrive at the player he was during his final year at OCS took a lot of commitment and belief in his abilities, something Matteson is certainly proud of, especially now that he will be heading to the next level.
“Ever since I first touched a football, I knew I wanted to play in college,” he said. “I didn’t know what level, but I worked extremely hard throughout the summer to improve my game. I believe I have that natural football instinct and have a nose for the football, but work ethic really set me apart and allowed me to impact the game in all three phases.”
That hard work goes hand-in-hand with Matteson’s competitiveness, something that he also prides himself on.
“I love to compete and I love how competitive football is,” Matteson said. “I love that you get to hit people and not get penalized. It’s just an incredible sport.”
The competitor in him doesn’t stop in football either, as Matteson is a key contributor for the OCS boys basketball team, as well.
Just this week, he took on the challenge of guarding Millwood freshman phenom Jaden Nickens, who is widely regarded as one of the top 20 freshmen in the country.
In a 54-52 win over Millwood, Matteson held Nickens to zero points.
That type of mindset will serve Matteson well at Army, where he jumped at the chance to join a program that requires a lot more than the normal university.
“Army is one of the nation’s best academic institutions in the world, and to be able to play football at a high level is another major plus,” he said. “And on top of all of that, serving this great country will be a great honor for me. When I fully considered all of those things, it was a no brainer for me.”
Matteson knows not everyone is made to succeed at Army, but he’s confident in himself and believes he has prepared himself as well as he could while attending OCS.
“I know it’s a great challenge that is not fit for everyone,” he said. “However, I also know that OCS has prepared me for the next four years of my life in an amazing way. With the current education I’m receiving and the characteristics that I possess, I’m ready to take on the challenge.”
Along with his environment at OCS preparing him for this moment, Matteson also credits his faith for being the foundation of what’s gotten him to this point.
“I’m really proud of the young man I have become in Christ,” he said. “Of course, I’m proud of all my team’s accomplishments, but more importantly, I have grown exponentially in my walk with Christ.”
Though he will be almost 1,500 miles away, Matteson knows he will have the best support system as he starts his new journey, including his older brother, Mason.
“My family has been my biggest supporter in everything,” he said. “Specifically, my older brother, Mason, has been my #1 fan throughout everything. He is my brother for life and I’m beyond blessed that God put him in my life. He is a great role model for me to follow after.”
Ultimately, Matteson hopes to continue to grow on and off the field individually during his time at Army, while also helping lead the guys around him.
“I’m looking forward to just improving myself and impacting others while I’m there,” he said.
Oh, and he hopes to get four victories over a certain rival.
“And as always, I’m looking forward to beating Navy.”