Phidarian Mathis: “We Still Run the SEC”
Phidarian Mathis did not mince words with the media in the opening press conferences of Senior Bowl week. A usually jolly-natured giant, Mathis had to set the record straight when he was asked about the Georgia Bulldog populace in Mobile, Alabama this week.
"We got a lot of respect for those guys. You know, we came up short but let me remind you: we still run the SEC," Mathis said.
This year's Senior Bowl only features two Alabama players: Brian Robinson and Phidarian Mathis. On the back of a 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship season, the Bulldogs have sent six players to Mobile. Naturally, all eight Bulldogs and Tide players alike are on the same roster, being coached by the Detroit Lions staff for the American Team.
Mathis mentioned that it is interesting to him to compete alongside the Georgia alumni and learn from them and understand how they see the game. All week, Mathis will lineup with the likes Devonte Wyatt and Channing Tindall and at the end of the day they each have the same goal: win Saturday's game and improve each's own draft stock.
Mathis is well on his way toward the latter. Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy spoke highly of Mathis and his journey to the NFL.
“We had him in the fourth round, good player, but man he took a really nice jump this year. He really did,” Nagy said. “In terms of the interior D-Line, he moved up about as much as anyone for us in that group. He’s not just a two-down player. Every team is looking for guys who can get upfield and rush the passer, affect the quarterback from the inside. Phil can do that.”
Mathis mentioned that learning patience at Alabama served him well. Now he's set to put all he's learned at Alabama into action for the scouts in attendance. After all, the practices in Tuscaloosa have an "iron sharpens iron" approach. It's good on good. It's great on great.
It's the same thing here in Mobile.
“I think playing at Alabama has gotten me ready and prepared me for this opportunity,” Mathis said. “I just gotta go out there and be myself and do what I do.”