I’Tavius Mathers On Breakout Season At MTSU: “I only had one year left that I need to make it my best year”

Middle Tennessee running back I’Tavius Mathers carries the ball on a 71-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

I’Tavius Mathers  has a pretty cool story! He played at Ole Miss for three years where he ran for 1,061 yards, had 7 total touchdowns and 18 receptions. Then, BOOM: he sat out a year and trasnferried to Middle Tennesse State University. It was the best decision that he made! He became like a human pin ball machine at a local pizza shop. Mathers channelled his inner Russell Westbrook this season. He broke a ton of records! Mathers became the first player in NCAA history with over 1,500 yards rushing, 15 rushing TD’s, 60 receptions, all while averaging over 6.5 yards per carry.

I’Tavius Broke Down His Breakout Season On Scoop B Radio Overtime With Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson 

In between getting ready for tomorrow’s NFL Draft in Philadelphia, Mathers caught up with a myriad of topics including: his taste in music, his three touchdown game against Louisiana Tech and the movie Forrest Gump.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: My first questions you went to Middle Tennessee State and then you transferred to Old Miss. What do you think of the success of Middleton Tennessee State in basketball this season?

 I’Tavius Mathers: I think they did a pretty great job of winning they have a winning program for basketball as you can see they made it to the tournament both years these past two years they made it to the second round and hopefully next year they can be even better.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Were you surprised by the success particularly this season, upsetting early on in the tournament?

 I’Tavius Mathers: No I wasn’t surprised at all if you look back they upset Michigan State last year in the first round. This year they upset Minnesota in the first round so I mean the program they expect a lot from football and basketball.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: So this season you ran for 1,561 yards and had 17 touchdowns.

I’Tavius Mathers:: Yeah

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What was your motivation?

I’Tavius Mathers:: I always told myself since I only had one year left that I need to make it my best year and to do everything I can to make it to the league and I just kept telling myself not be to be satisfied each week and come out and be better than you were the week before.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Brotha, I mean you are pretty humble about that. When I saw that and saw those numbers and saw the highlights it took me back to Forrest Gump when he said: ‘that is a running fool.’ Do you remember that scene?

I’Tavius Mathers: Yeah I do I definitely remember that scene.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I mean you said you had one year left. As Kanye West would say Through the wire through the limit.That is a pretty big deal.

I’Tavius Mathers: Yeah I mean its only right to go out and do your best and I mean I wrote down goals in the spring time that I wanted to accomplish in the season and I just woke up and looked at them everyday in the bathroom and in my room. Then the season came and I kept looking at them and reminding myself on what I want to do and what I want to be.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What were some of the other goals that you wrote down?

I’Tavius Mathers: I just wrote down that I wanted to be like a thousand yard rusher and then that happened. I wanted to become a better student of the game and I think that happens a lot, I am just a better football player, Ive been able to catch better obviously if you look at my stats about the catching I did a great job of that as well.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You talked about looking at the stats you had three touchdowns in the game against Louisiana Tech. What was your motivation in that game?

I’Tavius Mathers: I mean just Coach called on me to do the job. I mean he put the ball in my hands and I just made something happen with it. I always tell myself every time I touch it score or get a first down and thats what Ive always said.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: So look, Beyonce has the Sahsa Fierce and the Beyonce thing going on, two different personalities. Is there an I’Tavious (and I know your last name is Mathers); is there an I’Tavious Mathers and a Marshall Mathers side of you? Like are there two different personalities?

I’Tavius Mathers: No theres not. Not at all. I am pretty locked in on game day the night before the game I sit there and visualize me making places and then on Saturday still visualizing. Then on game day when the game kicks off I’m locked in and paying attention to my details and just be ready to break the moment and make a big play.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: So your last year you mentioned you had 17 touchdowns in a season and the other few years you kind of were invincible or rather invisible. For people who say that you had one breakout year what do you say to those critics?

I’Tavius Mathers: I feel like they should go back and watch my highlights and my film from Old Miss and you will see when I had the ball I did successful with that as well I just didn’t get the touches as much as I like to and as much as I should but other than that I don’t think its a one year thing. I go all the way back to high school I won Mr. Football for Tennessee, I got gatorade player of the year for Tennessee, Old Spice player for Tennessee so if you look at that and everything I have been successful the whole, my whole career.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I mean looking at your stats in addition to the rushing yards this past season you had 66 receptions for 633 yards. The season before that 6 receptions and 49 yards. I feel like you would be a Madden players dream. You are an all purpose back. Yes no?

I’Tavius Mathers: Yeah I agree with you. Today I feel like I’m considered an all down back or an all purpose back. They are not looking for guys who can just run the ball you have to be able to catch the ball run the ball and block. I feel like I got to contribute in all that and all those areas.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Brian Westbrook, does that name ring a bell?

I’Tavius Mathers: Yes Brian Westbrook played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Yup

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Would you think that is a fair comparison? Who else in the league could scout say you easily resemble on the football field?

I’Tavius Mathers: I dont know. Some say Demarco Murray. I mean to be honest the only think I remind them of or any of that is I was a huge fan of Ladainian Tomlinson. Obviously he could catch pretty good out of the back field and run the ball pretty good so I mean thats who i model my game after but I never said I wanted to be him. I always wanted to be better than him.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I like that. As Dj Khaled would say on Snapchat: I like that.” What gets you motivated going into a game?

I’Tavius Mathers: What gets me motivated? I mean I just think about all the obstacles i have over came I feel like this is my dream. I have always wanted to play football. I love the game of football so I get to go out and play for free and do the thing I love to do which is run the ball play football you know just have fun out there.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: ive songs that get you motivated before a big game?

I’Tavius Mathers: I listen to some Luchi, They ask me who i do it for. I listen to that. I listen to Rich Homie Its been a little minute. Lets see what else I have three more . I listen to some old school. My mom she raised me around some blues so I mean I listen to some Sir Charles and then I just have to keep it calm so Sir Charles. Probably Young Thug um Bennie See me I listen to that. I think that is about it.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I like it. I like it. When your name is called in the draft who is the first person you call and what is the first meal you eat?

 I’Tavius Mathers:: Well I don’t know if Ill call anyone all my family members and close friends people like that will be around so I will probably just get up and shake hands and happy tears and just smile and embrace the moment. First meal, wow I have never thought about that one. Probably like steak and potatoes or something like that.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You are so Tennessee brother. Last question: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

I’Tavius Mathers: Definitely has to be from my head coach Rich Sparksville. He told me to go out everyday and practice in the game and play and practice my best he never told me I wasn’t good enough.

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About Brandon Robinson

Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson is a managing editor and columnist at RESPECT Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @ScoopB and Instagram: @Scoop_B. As a 12 year old, he was a Nets reporter from 1997-1999, co-hosting a show called Nets Slammin' Planet with former New Jersey Net Albert King and Nets play-by-play man Chris Carrino. He's also been a writer and radio host at CBS and a staff writer at The Source Magazine. He's a graduate of both Eastern University and Hofstra University. You can catch him daily on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. Visit ScoopBRadio.com to listen. For inquiries and to contact Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson visit ScoopB.com