Maty Mauk will be thrust into the spotlight with the University of Missouri this fall when he takes over the starting quarterback duties for the SEC East champion Tigers. But he was just one of the boys Friday morning at Blue Springs High School.
The redshirt sophomore, who was 3-1 last season when he replaced the injured James Franklin, hit the practice field and track in Columbia, Mo., extra early Friday.
He got in his workout, then made the 90-minute drive to Peve Stadium to work with youngsters at coach Kelly Donohoe’s All-Metro Quarterback and Wide Receivers Camp.
“I’ve only been here about 20 minutes,” Mauk said, “and I’m already having a good time. You see a young kid like the one over there (pointing to a youngster who looked to be about 12 years old), and then you see the older kids and you know they’re all here for a reason.
“They want to learn, want to get better and want to contribute to their teams. I hope I can get them excited about football and help them out.”
When asked if the camp reminded him of his high school days at Kenton High School, where he was named Mr. Football in Ohio in 2011 and broke a number of national passing records, he grinned and shook his head.
“I never went to any camps like this,” Mauk explained. “I went to some with my older brother Ben (a star at Kenton, Wake Forest University and the University of Cincinnati), but never went to any like this, at a high school.
“That’s why I’m pumped up about today. I want to see what we can get accomplished.”
He feels the same way about Mizzou's upcoming season, in which the Tigers will attempt to defend their SEC East championship.
“A lot of people are already writing us off,” Mauk said. “Don’t know why, but they are. We lost some great people off last year’s team and we aren’t going to have DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham, a projected All-American wide receiver who was dismissed from the team following an incident with his girlfriend), but we have the guys who can catch the ball.
“And we have five freshmen coming in who are going to have the chance to be a big part of our offense. I'm excited.”
Mauk started four games in 2013 and finished with 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He completed 51.1 percent of his passes (68-of-133) and averaged an impressive 8.1 yards per attempt.
“The kid can play quarterback; we all saw that last season when he came in for Franklin,” Donohoe said during a water break in the early Friday morning session. “We really want to thank the University of Missouri for letting Maty come down to the camp.
“They’ve been great to work with. And I think he’s excited about being here and working with the kids.”
Mauk said he hopes to be a coach one day (his father is a longtime high school coach) and that he would take the opportunity Friday to watch Donohoe and his staff interact with the young players.
“I can’t see myself in a suit and tie, sitting behind a desk,” Mauk said. “This is what I want to do – coach football.”
Big fan of Sam: Like any University of Missouri football player, Mauk is aware of the national attention defensive end Michael Sam received when he came out as openly gay before the 2014 NFL draft.
“We all supported Michael,” Mauk said. “When he told us he was gay before the start of the (2013) season, we didn’t think that much about it. No one on the team said anything. There has been a lot made about it now, but we just saw Michael as a friend and a teammate.
“He is a great player, but he is an even better person. I’m honored to call him my friend and to have played with him at Missouri. I think he’s going to have a great NFL career in St. Louis.”