Steve Specht is considered to be one of the best high school football coaches in the country.
Since taking over as the head coach at Cincinnati-St. Xavier, he’s won over 100 games brought home a pair of Ohio high school state championships.
Matt Bockhorst, his starting left tackle, committed to Clemson last month while in town for Junior Day. The four-star guard is ranked by the 247 composite as the No. 9 offensive guard in the country.
In a perfect world, Bockhorst would play center as a senior — the position Specht thinks he’ll end up playing at the next level.
“I mean, he’s — I always call them nuclear-brain-surgeon-smart,” Specht said. “He gets it. He understands all the positions. He can coach everybody up on it. I think that’s what Clemson is going to get, is a kid who’s not only physically tough, but he’s smart.”
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound prospect has an edge to him, especially in the weight room.
“I spend more time pulling Matthew back,” Specht said, “Telling him that, ‘Not everybody is like you, Matt. They have a little bit different temperament than you. You can’t treat them all the way you want to be treated.’
“He’s learning that. That’s the only knock I have on Matt. He needs to understand that not everybody is as single-minded and focused as you. They’re just kids. They’re young men trying to figure this whole thing out.
“He has this figured out. He wants to go to Clemson. He wants to win a national championship. He wants to be a 4.0 student. He has his life mapped out and 99 percent of high school kids don’t have a clue what they’re going to have for lunch today.”
On the field, Bockhorst is no different. That’s among the reasons why he’s listed by Rivals as the 11th best offensive guard in the class of 2017.
“Matt’s different. He’s got a mentality that’s a little different from the normal offensive linemen that I’ve coached in my career,” Specht said. “He plays angry. He plays with a chip on his shoulder.”
It’s probably a safe bet that the chip will accompany him to Clemson since schools like Notre Dame and Ohio State didn’t pull the trigger.
“Matthew plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played…I think
Clemson is getting a great one,” Specht said. “I’m surprised that the big guys in our neck of the woods didn’t move faster on him, because I think he’s going to be special.”
The Bockhorst genes are pretty good. His older brother, Jonathan is a freshman offensive lineman at Furman.
Though Matt was always a little bigger, Specht said there was no doubt who the younger brother was as they were growing up.
“I love them both, but I think the toughest out of all of of them is his little brother, Patrick,” Specht said. “Patrick is going into the seventh or eighth grade, but it’s a great family. It’s a great family. It’s a great dynamic.
“The toughness that his father Mike really instilled in them at a young age has paid off.”
Bockhorst’s mom is an English teacher at St. Xavier.
“He’s a wonderful student,” Specht said. “If you talk to the teachers that have had him in class, they talk about how well-behaved and polite he is. They’re in disbelief that he’s so angry as a football player, but that’s his mother’s side in him, the fact that he’s so well-behaved.”
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