GAINESVILLE – The youngest of three boys, Matt Armstrong always had the itch to be a quarterback.
After starting his football life at the age 4, Armstrong was exclusively a running back. It wasn’t until 7th grade that he first lined up under center.
A year later, he was on the varsity team at Oak Hall as an 8th grader. Armstrong worked his way up the depth chart to become the starter as a sophomore.
In total the 6’1″, 185-pounder has appeared in 20 games, throwing for 1,522 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 1,168 yards and 19 touchdowns. He can get it done in both aspects.
Working to reach the 195-pound mark this season, Armstrong says he noticed a big jump in his game from sophomore to junior year.
No offers have come just yet for the 2018 quarterback, but Georgetown, Amherst-Williams, Princeton and Dartmouth are all showing interest.
Armstrong, a lacrosse player since 2nd grade opted to not play the sport this year at Oak Hall, so he could focus exclusively on football.
He’s aiming to become a more mature passer. Armstrong says running is something that has always come naturally to him, but he wants to be a true pocket passer.
“I do whatever to help the team win whether that is throwing or running the ball,” Armstrong told Prep Sports Scouting. “Being a dual-threat is nice, but to play at the next level you have to throw the ball.”
His oldest brother Jared, a 2012 Oak Hall graduate played at Florida State and is someone Matt looks up to.
Currently, Jared is in graduate school at USC. Matt says that his brother helps him break down film by jotting down notes and tries to come as many regular season games as possible.
Armstrong says he found motivation and passion for being a hard worker playing under head coach Matthew DiBernando.
“Everything has improved, but in general good teammates, good coaches and good people around me have made me work harder,” he said.
This season, the Eagles will go from an independent team to Class 2A. Armstrong says it gives Oak Hall football some legitimacy.
“There are a lot of people, especially in Gainesville that said “you guys went 10-0 but you were conference champions, not state champions”, Armstrong said. “That motivates us to work harder and prove to everyone else that we can play with anybody.”
Coach DiBernando is someone Armstrong called amazing. DiBernando took over the program in 2015 and has guided the Eagles to a 17-2 record over the last two seasons. Prior to that, Oak Hall went 2-17 from 2013-14.
“The things that he’s done for me as a person outweigh the things that he has done for me as a player. I think of coach D as one of my close friends,” Armstrong said. “He’s always there to make me a better student, leader and son. I’ve learned so much from him.”
He’s tough on us, but he brings the best out of everybody. He brings that passion to the program. His work ethic radiates off of him. He inspires everyone to work harder. We are very fortunate to have coach D as our coach. I really do mean it when I say I wouldn’t any other coach than coach D.”
Armstrong is using football to get into a college that he says he wouldn’t get into without it, specifically in the Ivy League.
“I play football because I love it and it is fun. I’ve made friends on the football field that I would never have made without it,” Armstrong said. “In terms of college, I’m using football to get into a school that I otherwise would get into. The NFL would be great. It’s good to have goals, but you have to be realistic.”
Both of Armstrong’s brothers study economics in college. That is something he has gone back and forth on in terms of a major. He’s taken an economics class every year in high school thus far.
Smart, confident and determined, Armstrong is looking to become the best version of himself as a senior. He’s starting to hit the peak of his abilities and with more throws and time in the pocket, the better he’ll be. Look for Armstrong to have a breakthrough 2018 season.
Favorite players to watch – Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
Playlist before games – Josh Groban’s Christmas album
Favorite movies – Good Will Hunting
Favorite TV shows – Game of Thrones
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I really like playing music. I enjoy making music and listening to music. I like to play the bass.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Matty Ice”
Game film: Armstrong’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.