Texans WR Mathis Staying Focused

By Joe Booker
Updated: August 22, 2005

Jerome Mathis HOUSTON — Jerome Mathis first got the attention of NFL scouts at the NFL Combine when he ran blazing 4.28-seconds in the 40-yard dash. It was the fastest time in the country.

The Texans spring mini camps were a big adjustment for him. His time and performance at the combine caught the eyes of the Texans.

His senior year at Hampton University, a 1-AA school in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference, Mathis was First Team All-Conference wide receiver. He caught 30 passes for 884 yards and 9 TDs. He led 1-AA schools with 460 yards in kickoff returns for 17.69 yards per return.

His junior year was his best year as a receiver when he caught 41 passes for 993 yards and 9 TDs. He first caught the eyes of NFL scouts when he caught 7 passes for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns against Gardner-Webb.

The Texans took Mathis in the 4th round of the 2005 draft. Texans’ coach Dom Capers had high praise for Mathis when they brought Mathis to Houston for his signing press conference.

“As I look at Jerome, I see a player with raw talent,” said Texans’ coach Dom Capers when Mathis was introduced to the media for the first time. “I think he can help us in multiple situations as a receiver and return specialist. He is the kind of player that when he gets his hands on the ball he has a chance to score anytime.”

Mathis has not disappointed Capers.

“A day doesn’t go by without being impressed by a catch or move by Mathis,” said Capers in Mathis first few training camps. “He is quickly becoming a viable target for David Carr.”

Mathis is making the adjustments from 1-AA football to the NFL with ease. He feels there is a lot of room for improvement even though the coaching staff feels he has made a lot of strives. He talked about his first days in training camp.

“When I first got here I had to deal with the heat,” said Mathis during the early part of training camp. “The tempo of practice was faster than it is now. It was more rep than anything. Today we were focused on having a good tempo and making players when your number is called. Everything is starting to fall in place for me. There is a lot of room for improvement for me.”

Mathis is not in awe of what he has seen in camp. He has not been surprised at what he has seen in camp. He knows that such 1-AA small college wide receivers like Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley) and Otis Taylor (Prairie View) made it big in the NFL.

“Surprised? There is nothing new that has surprised me,” said the speedy Mathis who the Texans would like to see his speed in the lineup with Andre Johnson and take away some of the double coverage that Johnson maintains.

“Everybody here is an average human being. Most of them have families and are trying to have a career. It is a business and you have to treat it as a business and leave it as a business. Players like Otis Taylor and Jerry Rice came from small colleges and they had success.”

Coming from a small school like Hampton which is known for academics as well as athletics Mathis mind-set is to continue to improve and stay focus. His 29.47 yards per catch that led the NCAA 1-AA schools means nothing now. He knows he has a lot to learn. Even though he has had a great camp he is not satisfied.

“I have to stay focus mentally. The physically part will come,” said Mathis after the Texans scrimmage against the Denver Broncos. “The most important thing for me is staying focus. I am not pleased with my performance even though coaches come up to me all the time and tell me I am doing good. You can never become satisfied.”

He impressed Dom Capers when he caught his first NFL preseason pass against the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium. “I thought it was nice for Jerome Mathis to get back on the field and see his speed,” said Texans’ coach Dom Capers. “There is no question in my mind that he has the power to run by people.”


NAME: Jerome Alvon Mathis

DRAFTED: Fourth Round, 2005

COLLEGE: Hampton University

HEIGHT: 5’ 11”


BIRTH PLACE: Petersburg, VA.


DID YOU KNOW: Jerome’s mom attended high school with NBA Hall of Fame star Moses Malone?