Pitt cornerback Damarri Mathis declared for the 2022 NFL draft on Friday and announced that he would not be taking part in the upcoming Peach Bowl. Instead, Mathis will shift his focus to training for the draft.
“I would like to thank God for every moment that got me to this point,” Mathis said in a statement. “I want to thank the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play for this great program. To everyone at the University of Pittsburgh, I will never forget all the memories and great relationships that I built in this city.”
“With that being said, after many prayers and family discussions, I have decided to forgo the upcoming bowl game so I can begin to focus on training and preparing for the 2022 NFL draft. It’s time for this dream to become reality. Thank you, Panther Nation!”
Mathis is the second Pitt player to opt out of the Peach Bowl, as Kenny Pickett announced on Thursday night that he would also forgo the game and begin training for the draft. Pickett, a Heisman finalist, is expected to go in the first round of the draft and is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 quarterback and No. 15 overall prospect. Mathis is ranked as the No. 26 cornerback and the No. 240 prospect by the same outlet.
The cornerback started in all 13 of Pitt’s games this season after missing the 2020 campaign due to a preseason injury. This year, Mathis accrued 45 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions. The first of those two takeaways was a pick-six in Pitt’s 77-7 win over New Hampshire on Sept. 25. The second came early in Pitt’s 27-17 win over Clemson on Oct. 23. And for his efforts, Mathis earned honorable mention for All-ACC honors this year.
Mathis came to Pitt in 2017 as a three-star recruit out of Lakeland High School in Florida. He quickly worked his way up the pecking order at cornerback, beginning as a reserve in 2017 and becoming a regular starter by 2019. He finishes his college career with 88 tackles, 22 pass breakups, five picks in 49 games.
With Mathis no longer playing in the Peach Bowl, Pat Narduzzi and Randy Bates will likely turn to A.J. Woods and M.J. Devonshire to fill the void in Pitt’s defensive backfield.