If he stays on his current path, Pierz junior Matthias Algarin is going to have some tough decisions to make. An injury prevented him from reaching his full potential during his sophomore year, but after his junior year, he has…
If he stays on his current path, Pierz junior Matthias Algarin is going to have some tough decisions to make. An injury prevented him from reaching his full potential during his sophomore year, but after his junior year, he has caught the eye of colleges in not one, but two sports.
The Pioneer football team had another solid season – going undefeated in the regular season and making another run back to State.
“We had a strong senior and junior class,” Algarin said. “Coming into the year we knew it would be a good year for us – we had a lot of talent. We worked hard and going into the playoffs; we were pretty dominant. Our coaches had a great game plan every week. Overall it was a great season; we just made too many mistakes the last game against Rochester (Lourdes). I am proud of what we got done.”
In 2018, Pierz stuck to a formula that helped them win 24 straight football games.
“Offensively we ran the ball a lot,” Algarin explained. “If we can get the ground game going, that sets us up for everything else. That is something we are not going to get away from. That is Pierz football – running the ball. We had a strong offensive line and strong running backs. Defensively we pitched quite a few shutouts this season – that can be attributed to our coaching staff and our preparation.”
As a wide receiver, Algarin’s opportunities were not abundant, but he made an impact in all three phases of the game.
“I did the most with every opportunity I got. With our running game, I didn’t get the ball a ton. I was mostly the big play guy. Defensively, the coaches would assign me to one guy and tell me to shut him down. Special teams were a big part of my game too. I returned punts and kickoffs. By the end of the year, teams were kicking away from me.”
As a sophomore, Algarin wasn’t worried about teams kicking away from him. He was trying to get back to full-strength.
“Right before track my freshman year I had a femur fracture, and a bone fragment broke off and went into my knee. They had to screw the bone back into place. I couldn’t run for six months. I ended up playing sophomore football, but I couldn’t sprint until the week before the first game. That game I touched the ball three times and had a punt return touchdown and a fifty-yard touchdown run.”
Despite coming back from an injury, Algarin – whose faith and involvement in church are significant parts of his life – had a role in the 2017 championship run. His role expanded as a junior.
“As a sophomore and a little bit as a freshman, I was playing safety and would focus on the opponents’ best receiver. This year I moved to corner. I think I am good in press coverage. I like to get on a guy right away and control his route the best I can. I was pretty much our team’s shutdown corner this year.”
“Speed and quickness are huge things for me,” Algarin continued. “I like press coverage. I think I am good at working the receiver with my hands, being physical and getting him off his route.”
After the football season, Algarin focused on becoming an overall better athlete and his track career.
“This winter I did a lot of lifting just gaining some weight and getting stronger. On Sundays, I would do some track training down at a camp at the University of Minnesota. I was doing jumping training and sprinting training which helped my forty and my overall explosiveness.”
As he has for a long time, Algarin is excelling in track this spring.
“Things are going well this year. My dad is my jumps’ coach. I have been working with him for a long time. I think I started track when I was eight – training with an actual team. In eighth grade, I was ranked number one nationally in the long jump and the triple jump, but I ended up breaking my leg. That took out my freshman and sophomore years. That is a big reason why my football recruiting got going late.”
Along with better health, a reason recruiting has picked up is because of what he has shown at camps.
“I was getting invites to some DII schools, and then I went to a Rivals combine in Dallas and did well there,” the Pioneers’ junior said. “There were over 1500 athletes, and I was second overall on the leader board on the day. Since then things have started to take off. I have visited Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Yale, Dartmouth, and North Dakota State.”
Algarin didn’t have to wait for recruiting to take off on the track.
“My recruiting in track has been going well. My last track meet I ran a 10.9 in the 100 and a 22.4 in the 200 which are the top times for Class A this year. I tripled jumped 48’10” which is number one in the state overall right now. I am not sure, but I think it was within a foot of the state’s all-time state record. I (long) jumped 23’9″ which I think is less than an inch off the all-time state record. Right now, I am being more highly recruited for track than football, but I am a football player that runs track, not a track athlete that does football. I think a lot of people see me as that.”
He considers himself a football player first, but that is not going to keep track programs away.
“I have been in contact with all the big names in track,” Algarin told northstarfootballnews.com. “Schools like Stanford, USC, Florida State, Florida, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. We will see how the track season plays out. I have to decide if I want to do track, if I want to do football or if I want to try to do both.”
As far as football is concerned, there are plenty of reasons college programs are interested in the 6’0″ 165 pounds (track weight) – over 170 pounds during football season – junior.
“They like my academics. All the Ivy League schools have contacted me. I think they like my raw athletic talent. The combine numbers I have put up are a big thing.”
Regardless of where he goes to school, Algarin knows what his academic focus is going to be. He already has experience in the field.
“I am going to be studying business in college. I have had my own eBay business since I was 12 years old. I find deals on things and flip them for profit. I started with sports memorabilia, and now I also sell rare athletic shoes.”
With grades and test scores good enough to interest the Ivy League, and with football and track and field programs competing for his attention, to say Algarin will have options is an understatement. Which option he chooses will play out over the next twelve months.