Written by Ryan Wright
North Carolina teams be prepared, the full onslaught of Class of 2021 quarterback Matthew Tuomala is coming. The 6-2, 180-pound, rising dual-threat showed a sneak peak of the overall talents a year ago passing for 550 yards with five scores while adding 75 yards on the ground before a collar bone injury (non-throwing arm) sidelined him for 5.5 games midseason. Tuomala has all the tools attached to the belt, and a chip on his shoulder from lost time heading into his senior campaign. As the three-star recruit is ready to lead his team to a fourth state championship, he is also ready to add friends to his seven scholarship offer total.
In an RNG interview partnered with QB Hit List, Tuomala breaks down his offseason workouts ahead of Charlotte Christian’s 2020 season opener against Country Day.
Matt, you better be careful with your junior season Hudl reel. The postal service is going to get mad with all the packages you were dropping off for free across North Carolina. When all was clicking for you, what made you a dangerous passer in the Knights’ offense?
(Laughs) In our offense we do well on short and quick game and we can also go downfield. We have a lot of good passing concepts, what works for us is our variety. Another thing that helps, after I see the field on a drive I can come back and talk to the coaches. We can adjust what we are doing for the next drive and keep rolling. We need this in our offense for check outs.
In our offense, we can throw it down the field, hit screens, and passes in between because we have a good variety. Our offense was not on one spot, like just going deep or having a short game. We have concepts that are made for different coverages and we were good at checking out of plays.
What style of offense were you guys executing last season?
A pro-style and spread, we were balanced. We were run heavy with me hurt last season, but we try to be a balanced team.
One other really nice trait to your game is how well you execute your play fakes. Are there any other perhaps hidden gems or parts to your game that maybe get overlooked beyond the big arm?
My coaches tell me I am good about bringing information back to them after a drive. My vision is different than theirs. I can tell them things they may not see on the sidelines.
What style of offense are you guys running in 2020?
We are keeping it the same this season. We are going to keep rolling. It has been working, we have three state championships with it. This season we are going for four.
Which routes you are throwing to in the scheme?
Our scheme has every single route. We got quick game routes and down the field routes. I’m throwing hitches, slants, outs, posts, drags – we have a lot of routes.
Going into the offseason, what were the main things you wanted to work on with the technical parts your game?
When I came back, I wanted to get more accurate, see the field better, and improve on my footwork. This offseason I did a lot of training with a quarterback coach and I watched a lot of film trying to learn more.
This was just touched on, let’s go deeper. How have you pushed your knowledge and understanding of the game forward over the spring and summer months?
I was going back looking at film and playing 7v7 going through those coverages trying to see what concepts work and the routes to check to against coverages.
Putting all the work together, where are you seeing the biggest improvements in your skills as a quarterback this fall?
I’d say my accuracy, field vision, and running the ball. I plan on running the ball more this year.
When did the Knights begin fall camp?
We have been practicing for over four months now. Our first game is next week.
Wow. After four months, you guys should be ready. Who do you get in your first game?
What kind of game are you expecting from them?
They keep it pretty consistent. We are preparing hard for them.
Once the season gets going, what goals have you set for yourself?
I want to run more, they limited me a lot last year when I came back. I had to slide last year when getting out of the pocket and extending game with my feet. I want to throw more, get more touchdowns for my team, and be a good senior leader.
Turning to recruiting, which schools are showing interest?
Some of the schools showing interest are Drake and Dayton. Some D-II interest is coming from Wingate, Catawba, and Newberry; hopefully they can come up for a game this season if it is allowed.
I know you have a lot of offers. Which schools are seeking your services?
I have offers from Morehead State University and Sacred Heart and D-III offers from Shenandoah, Randolph Macon, University of the South, Catholic University, and Hampden Sydney.
Before the dead period began, did you get to take any unofficial visits?
Yes. Last year I went to Elon, Virginia, and took some this summer to see some campuses.
Have you taken any virtual visits?
I have taken one to Randolph Macon, it was an informational visit, and one with Drake. With Drake, all their coaches were on there.
If visits were allowed tomorrow, which schools would you like to see in-person?
I’d love to go see James Madison and Sacred Heart. I’d love to see more but it would all depend on schools showing interest at that time.
Last question for you. Being a quarterback is more than executing an offense, having a strong arm and/or being mobile. What leadership qualities do you have that sets you apart from other Class of 2021 field generals?
From a young age I was taught about having a short memory after a bad play. If you have a bad play, you forget about it and go make the next play. As a leader, I like picking guys up and I get on the too but not by pulling them down. As a QB, the team feeds off me. The right attitude has to be there and you have to be in the right mindset to be a leader.
Matt, I enjoyed covering all this ground with you today. Wishing you and the Knights success with the season opener and beyond.
Photo credit: Tuomala family; Matthew Tuomala