Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
Some say Tuesday is worse than Monday. You aren't coming off the high of the weekend and you are not quite halfway through the week. Well hopefully we can provide a little distraction from your Tuesday blues as we continue our countdown by looking at a Hoosier from recent history, Will Matte. The former Indiana center and team captain donned the number 60 for five seasons while in Bloomington. Let's take a closer look at this talented offensive lineman's career and how he played an intricate role in helping the team transition from the Bill Lynch to the Kevin Wilson era.
The native of Wheaton, Illinois was a member of the Hoosiers 2008 recruiting class that also included the likes of Tandon Doss, Demarlo Belcher, Darius Willis and Larry Black Jr. After a redshirt season where he was named the team's co-offensive scout player of the year, Matte was immediately thrust into action during the 2009 season, starting in all 12 games at center as a redshirt freshman. His was a part of an Indiana offensive line that only gave up 16 sacks on the season, ranking 28th best in the nation. He was named to the freshman All-Big Ten team by Sporting News and was a Freshman All-America honorable mention selection by CollegeFootballNews.com.
His sophomore season was just as much of a success, as the offensive line did a great job of keeping quarterback Ben Chappell upright, who led the Big Ten with 3,295 passing yards. Matte was also a game captain two times during the season. Then came the coaching change.
Playing collegiate sports are difficult enough, but watching your coach get fired is something few athletes are prepared for. If you can think back to when this change took place, you'll remember there were a lot of growing pains involved and not everyone was receptive to it. However, Matte continued to bring the same consistent, hardworking effort his teammates had come accustomed to expect from him.
“I love Will,” said former Hoosier offensive lineman Justin Pagan. “Will’s a great leader. He’s the silent type. He’s not gonna go out and get on you. He does lead by example."
The Hoosiers offense struggled during its first season (2011) under Wilson's tutelage, as the team searched for answers at the quarterback position. Matte continued his stellar work upfront, starting in nine games and serving as game captain seven times. He was also an Academic All-Big Ten Selection.
Despite the loss of the team's starting quarterback in only the second game of the 2012 season, the Hoosiers offense was clicking on all cylinders and the offensive line was again a big reason for this, allowing a sack every 31.8 pass attempts. The Hoosiers led the Big Ten in passing offense at 311.2 yards per game.
During that final season with the Hoosiers Matte was elected team captain, named to the Rimington Trophy Fall Watchlist, received honorable mention All Big-Ten by the league's media and 247Sports.com, and was a two-time Indiana offensive player of the week. He was also featured on the Big Ten Network series, "The Journey," which can be seen below.
Check in tomorrow as we continue our countdown, taking a look at a fresh face along the offensive line.