GUYTON — South Effingham offensive lineman Matt Dye’s senior season is certainly one to celebrate. His football career has been quite a journey.
Dye went from having a limited role on the junior varsity team as a freshman to being thrown into the fire as a varsity the following year.
Dye was into soccer and basketball prior to football and didn’t hit the gridiron until he was a freshman. He enjoyed the game from the stands but wanted to get in on the action.
One of his former coaches eventually invited him to join the team.
“My eighth-grade year, I was in PE — if I remember correctly — and my PE coach had a little chat with me and asked if I was interested in playing football,” Dye said. “I told him I would love to try. I just started lifting weights at the high school in eighth grade with coach (Donnie) Revell and I just kind of fell in love with the sport and the program.”
After his freshman season, Dye realized he would need to add more weight if he wanted to be able to hold his own up front. He didn’t waste any time putting on the mass he needed, jumping from 170 pounds to 230 in just one season.
“My freshman year, they were losing their seniors,” Dye said. “I felt that I needed to step up because I wanted to play and I wanted to contribute to the team.”
This year’s offense, under second-year head coach Nathan Clark, will see new faces at almost every position. Dye said he will have to take on more responsibility as the team adjusts to not having as many experienced starters.
“Last season, the majority of our offense was seniors,” Dye said. “Since they all graduated, we all have to step up and it will be interesting this next season to see how it plays out. I’m excited.”
Dye admitted he needed substantial improvement between his sophomore and junior campaigns and said the coaching staff was behind him every step of the way.
“My mentality (has changed),” Dye said, “because my sophomore season I was kind of scared because it was my first year of varsity. I was just kind of getting the feel of how it really is. My junior year, we had a new offensive coaching staff. I didn’t play as much varsity football last season as my sophomore season and I felt that I needed much improvement — a lot of improvement from sophomore year to junior year — and the coaches just supported me and they motivated me to push myself so I just did it and I wanted to be the best player I can possibly be.”