|73 Christian Matau|
ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill Welcomes Back 14 Returning Starters, 50 Lettermen
Appears to have successfully bounced back from a nagging left knee injury, initially suffered during prep career, which forced him to the sidelines for nearly the entire 2013 and 2014 seasons ... Was formally cleared to play prior to the regular season finale against UCF in December, 2014 ... Participated in spring drills on a full-time basis, which allowed acclimation back into the routine of daily on-the-field work ... Strength and versatility could allow contributions from both the center or guard positions, although he will officially enter sophomore campaign listed as a reserve at the center position behind starter J.T. Boyd and backup C.J. Struyk ... Seemed to thrive under the direction and leadership of new offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Brad Davis during the off-season ... Continues to develop in ECU's strength and conditioning program to redefine frame ... Booked lifts of 385 pounds (bench press), 475 (back squat) and 264 (power clean) during the spring testing period.
2014: Did not experience game-day action during first season on the Pirates' active roster because of the left knee ailment ... Was medically released by athletic training staff to play against UCF and Florida (Birmingham Bowl), but did not compete on the field against Knights and Gators, respectively.
2013: Missed the majority of the fall season on unit's development (scout) squad because of the aforementioned knee injury ... Was cleared early for limited action but aggravated existing condition and was forced back to rehabilitation activities ... Signed with the Pirates in February.
High School: A three-year letterwinner, two-year starter and team captain for coach Bobby Curlings and the Bears ... Helped lead New Bern High School to an undefeated season (15-0) as a senior and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A state championship after a 39-38 win over Porter Ridge ... Considered one of the anchors of an offense that scored 645 points (topped 40 on nine occasions) - an average of 43.0 per game ... Credited with 35 pancake blocks in 2012 ... Suffered a season-ending knee injury and did not play in any of the playoff games ... Was selected to play in the Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, but missed contest due to the aforementioned injury ... Earned all-area honors from the New Bern Sun Journal as a senior ... Played an integral role in the Bears' 12-2 campaign in 2011, which included a perfect 5-0 mark in 4A Mideastern League play ... NBHS reached the 4A NCHSAA state semifinals before falling 61-28 to eventual state champion Scotland County (a loss the Bears later avenged with a 23-6 victory in the '12 state semifinals) ... Keyed a line as a junior that helped New Bern average 40.4 points and over 400 yards of offense per game ... A First-Team All-Mideastern Conference and New Bern Sun Journal All-Area pick in 2011 ... Reportedly turned in prep testing lifts of 345 pounds (bench press) and 415 (squat), while running a 5.25 40-yard dash and producing a vertical jump over 20 inches.
Personal: Full name is Kerisiano T. Matau, but prefers to go by Christian ... Born August 1, 1995 at Bellflower, Calif. (suburb of Los Angeles) ... Oldest brother, Ben, was a 6-foot, 245-pound two-way lineman who was part of New Bern's 2007 state 4-AA championship team as a sophomore, while middle brother, Jonathan, was labeled as a "physical and intense player" who earned first-team All-Mideastern 4-A Conference honors as a senior in 2010 at linebacker ... Father was a high school quarterback, while first cousin Fou Fonoti was a starting right tackle in the Michigan State program (completed career after 2013 season) ... A management major who earned ECU Honor Roll designation during the 2015 spring semester.