Wrestling lends itself well to being a top defensive lineman and vice versa — just ask Amherst Steele’s Matt Lee.
The senior committed Feb. 7 on National Signing Day to play football at Division II Tiffin University.
During Lee’s time at Steele, he registered 156 total tackles (71 solo and 21 for a loss), 32 quarterback pressures, and three sacks. This season, his work in the trenches helped lead the Comets to a 6-4 record, their first campaign above .500 since 2010.
Lee earned third team All-Ohio honors as well as first team recognition in Northeast Ohio, Lorain County, and the Southwestern Conference for his 2017 football season.
He was named SWC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior while also receiving first team county and conference nods.
“This is an honor and it’s very exciting,” Lee said after signing his commitment papers. “I always wanted to play football at the next level and knew I could if I put in the work. Tiffin offered me the scholarship during this football season and it’s nice. I looked at the campus and it’s a perfect place for me.”
As a wrestler, Lee is a two-time state qualifier, placing fifth in the state in his weight class as a junior.
He is the Steele record holder for career wins and pins and is currently ranked number number two in the state in the 285-pound class.
“With Matt doing football and wrestling, those skills have crossed over and made him better at both,” said Steele football coach Mike Passerrello. “It’s helped him tremendously in terms of leverage, hand fighting, and everything else that happens down in the trenches.”
While saying he’ll miss his fellow Comets, Lee said he knows a talented group of underclassmen are ready to pick up the slack for his absence on both the mats and football field.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t make the playoffs but at least we made a move and made a dent in getting this process going,” he said. “To stand out at the next level, I’m just worried about making the right decisions and doing all of the extra things.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.