Six weeks from today, SDSU will take the field against Ohio University. Fall camp is just a few weeks away, but the Aztecs are not done filling their roster. On Thursday night, Long Beach City College center, Matthew Barcot, announced on social media that he has committed to the program.
“San Diego is such a beautiful place and is close to home, so my family would be able to come to home games with ease,” Bracot told EVT. “… Coach Goff had talked with me in the past, and I asked if they still needed a center, and here I am going to SDSU, which I couldn’t be more happy with how things played out.”
Barcot arrives on the Mesa as a preferred walk-on, but his accolades at the junior college level are unparalleled. A two-year starter at LBCC, he did not allow a sack in either season. This past year he was the team’s offensive player of the year.
“Matt is a steal because he’s an absolute technician as an offensive lineman,” LBCC assistant coach Jericho Silvernail told EVT. “He’s everything you want in a center: intelligence, leadership, finishes his blocks, and makes the guys better around him. He’s a steal because if he was six-foot-five, he would have every school in the country after him. Giving up zero sacks in two seasons and with him playing as many snaps as he did is a phenomenal feat.”
His fit with the Aztecs is not hard to see. SDSU is looking to replace Alama Uluave, a three-year starter at center. Tommy Mirabella, Ross Ulugalu-Maseuli, and Dean Abdullah all took snaps there in the spring. They did not stand out at the position enough to be the presumed starter against Ohio. In fact, walk-on redshirt freshman Tiger Yu looked the best at the position for small stretches during spring camp.
Barcot brings one quality none of them possess. He has experience playing center at the college level. LBCC played in the shotgun much of the time, and Barcot snapped extensively the past two seasons. Mirabella has been groomed as Uluave’s replacement but has yet to show that he can snap effectively during a game.
“The coaching staff hasn’t told me much, but best believe I’m ready to work and put it all out on the table and show that I’m one of the best centers in the Mountain West,” Barcot replied when asked what SDSU has told him about what awaits him on campus.
Even if Barcot cannot reach his lofty goals this season, his inclusion on the roster makes sense. One scenario for how the center competition plays out is that either Mirabella or Ulugalu-Maseuli wins the job, and the other is the starting right guard. Abdullah, who played tackle in junior college, would be a super-sub, able to play anywhere on the line. This would leave Barcot and Yu to battle for the backup role or emergency center should the staff feel comfortable sliding the starting guard to center in case of injury.
Barcot also gives SDSU insurance should a rash of injuries occur at the position. Adding a player to a room late always carries risk, but Barcot should have no trouble acclimating to his new teammates.
“He’s a unique leader because not only does he lead by example, he is vocal when he needs to be,” Silvernail explained. “As a teammate, he holds his guys accountable, picks them up if they’re down, and celebrates his teammates’ accomplishments. Matt is the type of young man that every school in the country is looking for because he’s the complete package.”
On Episode 78 of The SDSU Podcast, Goff described a change in philosophy for the line. Results, not technique, would be the focus. Barcot shares this ethos. He is undersized but does not let anything limit him in getting the job done.
On film, the pockets he created at LBCC were terrific. If he can play at that same level at SDSU, he would complement QB Jalen Mayden’s pocket presence well. Mayden would be deadly if given the clean throwing alleys Barcot provided LBCC QBs.
“For people who haven’t seen how I play, I would describe it as violent,” Barcot said. “My job is to protect my QB, and I’ll do anything it takes for him not to get touched. … My favorite part of Juco was Saturday nights at Veteran Memorial Stadium playing in front of a home crowd and showing the other team who the Vikings were.”
Silvernail described Barcot as “old school, blue collar,” which is a quality the line lacked in 2022. They played too often without the edge and nastiness that the best SDSU’s offensive lines in the past have had. Adding a grown man, who had to fight for his football life in junior college, should infuse grit and urgency into the unit.
My earliest sport’s memory involve tailgating at the Murph, running down the circular exit ramps, and seeing the Padres, Chargers and Aztecs play. As a second generation Aztec, I am passionate about all things SDSU. Other interests include raising my four children, being a great husband and teaching high school.