Matthew Steeple is making Morgan State assistant coach Bubba Green revise some of his recruiting guidelines.
"In the past, I liked my inside linemen to have wrestled," says Green. "It provides another dimension for their development, and they are usually quicker, more agile than the others. Now, with Matt, I'm going to have look for linemen who have wrestled and played lacrosse."
Those were Steeple's athletic outlets at Northern High School, where he made the Maryland Scholastic Association All-Star team as a football lineman, and the All-MSA C Conference team as a lacrosse attackman.
At Morgan State, Steeple, 6 feet 3 and 270 pounds, will concentrate on football and academics. He is one of the Morgan freshmen who has had to grow up in a hurry, because he has started every game.
"It was in my mind that he would start. With that raw talent, I knew not too many could beat him out," Green said. "It's hard to find linemen able to handle that pressure. He was a big kid who could run, was aggressive, and got better every week.
"He's the kind you build around, and getting him was important. Aside from his talent, we wanted to get a local player and show people that the Baltimore area produces good players."
Steeple chose Morgan, figuring he could come in and contribute. "I saw the possibilities for a turnaround," he said the other day. "I knew that basically they had not been winning, so when the winning came, I wanted to be part of it. I had no thoughts about starting right away. I just wanted to get some playing time."
The turnaround may have to wait awhile. Morgan State (0-10), one of only two non-winning teams in Division I and I-AA (Austin Peay is 0-9), gets a final shot at a victory Saturday when it plays at Division II Cheyney University.
"My only real adjustment from playing high school ball last fall has been learning a lot more techniques," Steeple said.
"As a defensive lineman, I try to mix up my moves, keep the VTC offensive guard honest. I'm looking to crowd up the backfield, making it more difficult for them to run or pass."
On the year, he has 46 tackles, including four for losses, and three sacks for minus-19 yards.
Steeple is finding out that there is more work in the classroom, too. A member of the National Honor Society in high school, and focusing on a major in electrical engineering -- just in time to take advantage of the new engineering building rising on Hillen Road -- Steeple says that it takes more studying than in the past.