Exit Interview: OL Matt McCann
Matt McCann would do it all again.
The 6-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Fishers, Ind., got on the field early in his Purdue career. And, he became a fixture. McCann was part of some solid offensive lines during his tenure in West Lafayette. A product of Chatard, McCann started 47 games, taking turns at guard and tackle.
GoldandBlack.com caught up with McCann--an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick the last two years--for an Exit Interview:
GoldandBlack.com: What was the highlight of your career?
McCann: The biggest high point probably would be the win over Ohio State (in 2018). That was a great experience for everybody and it gave something to our fans we hadn’t been able to give to them in a while. Winning the Foster Farms Bowl was another great one. Getting back to a bowl and winning it was an unbelievable experience. Those are the two big ones.
GoldandBlack.com: Did your career go as expected?
McCann: I went into Purdue wanting to play a little early. I did that successfully. I think I started 47 games. Personally, it went really well. I thought we really turned the program around once we had the coaching change. I was always proud to be a Boilermaker. Every day.
GoldandBlack.com: Who influenced you the most while at Purdue?
McCann: When I was first there and I first started playing, I had a line coach who really pushed me and who kept pushing and pushing me. Coach (Darrell) Funk. I only had him for a year (2016). But in that year, I feel like I really grew as a person. He was able to get me to play when I didn’t believe in myself. He gave me confidence for the rest of my Purdue career. I really appreciated him.
GoldandBlack.com: Who were some of the most challenging opponents you faced?
McCann: Obviously, (Ohio State's) Chase Young was one who I went against who is unbelievable. He is one guy who I actually had to look up at. He was tall. A big dude. I had just gotten out of the hospital a couple days before (the OSU game in 2018) with a finger injury, so I was playing with a club, so that didn’t help. He was an amazing athlete, a once-in-a-generation player. I went against (Wisconsin's) T.J. Watt my freshman year and he is doing great things in the NFL. He was a tough player to go against as a freshman. It is kind of cool to see some of these players you go against in the NFL, and he is getting sacks on Sunday.
GoldandBlack.com: How do you see the line shaping up in 2020?
McCann: That is a tough one. Obviously, (left tackle) Grant (Hermanns). He has been playing there a while. Either Cam (Craig) or (Mark) Stickford at left guard fighting it out. Viktor (Beach) or (Sam) Garvin at center. Maybe Viktor playing at (right) guard. I would look for that. Or Kyle Jornigan at (right) guard. He is a big dude who can move pretty decently for his size. Right tackle, (Will) Bramel, (Eric) Miller or someone else. All those dudes are young. It is good for the room to have competition. The best lines I have been on, there have been position battles. I think that’s going to happen next year.
GoldandBlack.com: Who were some of the best linemen you played with at Purdue?
McCann: I played with a lot of good guys. Jordan Roos is a good player. Dave Steinmetz, he is pretty good. Kirk (Barron). We all were cohesive with each other. There never really was just “that” guy.
GoldandBlack.com: How disappointing was last season's 4-8 mark?
McCann: That’s not the way you want to go out. There are a lot of guys who could have quit. But we went out there and fought. Things didn’t go our way. We had our All-American and our quarterback go out on the same play. But Jack Plummer, David Bell and others stepped up. I have nothing but high hopes for next year. It’s gonna be weird watching them, that’s for sure. But I expect big things next year.
GoldandBlack.com: What's next for you?
McCann: I recently got engaged. I am getting married June 2021, so I have some time. I am going down to Nashville on the 29th to start training for the pro days. Me and Brycen (Hopkins) are going there. It’s is Boost Performance. We are gonna live together.
GoldandBlack.com: What are you hearing from the NFL?
McCann: I have gotten a lot of feedback. I am gonna get a chance. I am hearing late-round, undrafted free agent. It’s not about your draft stock for me, it’s about how hard you work. You have to go in there and make a name for yourself. That is what I plan on doing. I plan to work harder than ever before, eating healthy, trying to play at the next level. If the NFL doesn’t work out, I am not sure if I would try the XFL. If I thought that would be a way I could get into the NFL, I would do it for sure. I think that’s KIrk’s mind-set. He wants to get a shot.
GoldandBlack.com: What do pro scouts like about you?
McCann: My size, I am a big dude. I need to work on my bending ability, which I know. They said I am versatile. I can play all three spots on the interior. I need to work on snapping. I plan on doing about 100 snaps a day in my training, study on how to make calls. I can learn it. I am a fast learner. I have played a lot of football vs. good competition. I think I’ll surprise a lot of people at my pro day with the numbers I think I’ll put up. I won’t have any regrets, even I don’t make it.
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