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Written by: Billy Splain on Thursday, May 21st, 2020
On Monday night, the Hawks of Lehigh “got better”. Allentown Central Catholic quarterback Matt Rauscher announced his intentions to attend and play football for Lehigh University. The 6’2″ 200 pound incoming senior threw for just 8 yards shy of 2,000 yards and ran for another 500, collecting 28 touchdowns in his senior season.
Committed. @LehighFootball #GoLehigh pic.twitter.com/5IXehItZXn
— Matt Rauscher (@mattrauscher) May 18, 2020
Committed. @LehighFootball #GoLehigh pic.twitter.com/5IXehItZXn
— Matt Rauscher (@mattrauscher) May 18, 2020
PFN: How long have you played football?
Matt: 10 years
PFN: Why did you choose to commit to Lehigh?
Matt: Lehigh was the first school that started recruiting me after I was invited to attend one of their camps last summer. Their offensive coordinator/QB coach – Coach Brisson – was also able to attend a couple of my games last fall so I have developed a close relationship with him. Coach McGorry coached at Lehigh so that was also a factor. Lehigh is the best fit for me both academically and athletically and I know it’s a place that I will make relationships to last a lifetime.
PFN: Why commit early?
Matt: Lehigh was my top choice and I’m proud to be the first Lehigh commit from the Class of 2021.
PFN: Who was your biggest influence at Lehigh, who recruited you?
Matt: Coach Scott Brisson (Offensive Coordinator/QB coach)
PFN: What are they getting in player like you?
Matt: I do whatever it takes to win.
PFN: What was the recruiting process like for you?
Matt: It’s a time-consuming and lengthy process – I saw that firsthand with my older brother Frank who was also a Division 1 recruit a couple of years ago. I feel very relieved that it’s over and that I can focus on our upcoming season which is going to be very special. I don’t have to worry about anything related to recruiting other than helping my teammates through the process.
PFN: How did the Covid 19 pandemic affect your decision?
Matt: Since all recruiting visits and on-campus evaluations were canceled through June, I came to the realization that not much was going to change from a recruiting standpoint between now and the end of the summer given that many schools have already canceled their camp dates for July as well. Most Division 1 offers and commitments are made before the end of July so I think more recruits will be making commitments earlier in the process this year because of the pandemic.
PFN: What position were you recruited for?
PFN: Do you know what you’d like to study?
PFN: What role did your parents play in your decision?
Matt: My parents were fully supportive of my decision and I am excited that my family and friends will be able to come to games to watch me play which is very important to me.
PFN: What do you think is the most exciting thing about the LU program?
Matt: Coach Gilmore talked to me last week about the great teams he was a part of from the early 2000s when he was the defensive coordinator at Lehigh at a time when they were one of the top 1-AA teams in the country. Lehigh has had some outstanding quarterbacks over the years with Phil Stambaugh, Nick Shafnisky, Brad Mayes, Chris Lum, Mike Colvin, and Brandon Bialkowski to name a few. Coach Gilmore had a lot of success when he was the head coach at Holy Cross throwing the football and that was very appealing to me during the recruiting process.
PFN: What are you most looking forward to while playing for the Hawks?
Matt: I can’t wait to be part of the Lehigh-Lafayette tradition and have the opportunity to compete in the FCS Playoffs.
PFN: Tell everyone out there in The Hawks Nest something they’d never know about you until you told them:
Matt: I have an aunt with Down Syndrome and her and my 86 year-old grandfather live nearby and they never miss a football game.
PFN: Who is the person who most influenced you in your football career?
Matt: Coach Mike Cerimele. He is like an uncle to me and he has pushed me throughout the years to improve both physically and mentally. He has always been so humble and genuine ever since I met him and you would never know that he was a former Penn State standout and captain by talking to him. I would not be nearly as blessed as I am today without Mike Cerimele and I thank him for the countless hours he has spent and continues to spend with my teammates and I.
PFN: What is it you’d like all your high school teammates and fans to know about your decision that you might have a hard time saying in person?
Matt: I am just very grateful to be given the opportunity to continue my football career at the next level at a place like Lehigh. I would not be where I am today without the support of my teammates and coaches and going to Central Catholic has been the best decision that I have ever made.
PFN: As a dad, what was this process like for you? What did you enjoy most?
Frank Rauscher: I went through the recruiting process with my older son, Frank Jr., a couple of years ago which really helped the second time around with Matt. Many of the same Division 1 programs and coaches that had recruited Frank Jr. were also recruiting Matt. What I enjoyed the most about the process were the game day, junior day, and other on-campus recruiting visits which gave me as a parent the opportunity to spend quality time with each of my sons talking about the sport we love – as well as meeting so many terrific coaches and other parents from across the country going through the same experience. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, all of Matt’s junior day and spring practice invites were canceled in March and April so it was disappointing that Matt was unable to go through the normal spring recruiting process that my older son was able to experience. But thankfully Matt was at least able to make a few game day visits last fall and junior day visits in January and February. He also had calls and virtual video tours just about every week in April and May with the coaches that were recruiting him.
PFN: What should parents know about the process?
Frank Rauscher: The unusual set of circumstances this year that shutdown the recruiting schedule and evaluations really emphasized how important having good film is. The most important part of the recruiting process is first being identified as a prospect which primarily occurs with really good film. Every college program has a recruiting board that is created after a player’s junior season. These recruiting boards are now being populated even earlier in the process at Division 1 schools so it’s important to have a HUDL highlight video completed as soon as the season is over and no later than the end of December. Online recruiting questionnaires should be completed for each school the player is interested in and the player should also e-mail his HUDL link to the recruiting coach for his area and position coach at each school. One additional thing we did for Matt was to create a Media Highlight film which included highlights from all of his televised games with independent commentary from the sportscasters.
If a coaching staff likes a recruit’s film, they will add that player’s name to their recruiting board as a prospect and invite the recruit to attend one of their junior days in the spring. Most coaches will then want to evaluate the prospect either at their high school which would normally take place during the last two weeks of January, between mid-April through the end of May, or at a summer camp in June and July. It’s imperative for the recruit and his parents to find out where the recruit ranks on each recruiting board. Most coaches are open to sharing their ranking information which is very helpful in identifying which schools have the best chance of making an offer. The first junior day event that we attended for my older son a couple of years ago was at Princeton University and we were quite surprised when the QB coach told us that my son was 1 of 30 quarterbacks they were recruiting across the country and the QB that committed the year before was a four-star recruit from California who turned down an offer from Alabama. That was an eye-opening experience for me.
Considering each school only takes one QB from each class, the recruiting process can sometimes be quite daunting for Division 1 prospects. It’s also important to understand that college coaches know exactly what they are looking for at each position. They are the experts and they know immediately by looking at film if a QB, for example, has good mechanics. But as a parent I was thrilled to see both of my sons identified as prospects on so many Division 1 recruiting boards and I tried to emphasize to them that receiving so many junior day invites was a testament to what college coaches thought of them and just getting those invites was a big accomplishment in and of itself. It’s also critically important for a recruit to develop relationships with the college coaches throughout the recruiting process which can be done by electronic communication such as e-mail and text messaging, but for my sons it was primarily done through direct messaging on Twitter. Finally, a resource like Pennsylvania Football News is invaluable for recruits and their parents for recruiting tips and recruiting information.
PFN: How do YOU feel about his choice
Frank Rauscher: Lehigh University was the first school that started recruiting Matt after he attended one of their camps last summer. Their offensive coordinator/QB coach – Coach Scott Brisson – was able to attend a couple of Matt’s games last season so Matt has developed a close relationship with him. His high school coach – Coach Tim McGorry – coached at Lehigh so that made us feel very comfortable about the decision. Coach McGorry runs Lehigh’s offense at Central Catholic and Coach Gilmore had a lot of success as the head coach at Holy Cross throwing the football which was also very appealing to me during the recruiting process. Being close to home is also a big advantage for my wife and I and our extended family. My 86 year-old dad lives nearby and he never misses a football game.
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