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TSJ101 Interview -Matt Shiltz, QB

NFL Draft Prospect Interview:

In a TSJ 101 exclusive interview, I spoke with 2015 Butler quarterback Matt Shiltz. Shiltz, a native of Saint Charles Illinois and current fifth year senior at Butler, is coming off an impressive 2015 season and is now draft eligible. Shiltz is ranked among the nation’s top 10 in total offense. This past season, Shiltz threw for 2713 yards and 19 touchdowns, and ran for another 639 yards and 10 touchdowns. His total offense of 304.7 yards per game ranked fifth in the entire Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and his 186 points ranked 6th in the FCS.

His stellar season earned him a trip to the FCS Senior Scout Bowl in South Carolina where, as the starting QB, he went 6 for 10 for 126 yards and had seven carries for 49 yards.

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Not only does Shiltz have a very good and accurate arm, but he is extremely mobile and runs a 4.60 and a low short shuttle. The footage below demonstrates Shiltz’s pace, strong arm, his ability to extend plays with his mobility, and his ability to keep a cool head when flushed from the pocket.

Shiltz had a good year in 2014 as well, completing 106 passes in 171 attempts for 1324 yards and 10 TDs in only six games.

Shiltz excelled at the NFL Regional Combine in Minnesota and then again at the Northwestern Pro Day. In fact, according to Draft Utopia,the only player to impress at Northerwestern’s Pro Day was”Butler quarterback Matt Shiltz who ran a 4.50 40. Butler’s quarterback bulked up to 6-3 200 lbs after weighing 6-2 194 lbs, and really showcased his ability in the throwing drills. CBS has moved him from an undrafted prospect to a seventh round pick.”

Recently, Shiltz impressed at workouts with the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears, and the CFL‘s Calgary Stampeders.

Shiltz compliments his mobility and accurate arm with his high football IQ. Shiltz is extremely bright and a natural leader. He was named to the PFL academic honor roll all five seasons, became co-Scholar Athlete of the Year in the conference, and served as team captain for Butler both his junior and senior year.

Shiltz has demonstrated that he is prepared both mentally and physically to step up to the next level with his passion and dedication to the sport both on and off the field.

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Me: What do you enjoy most about playing football?

Matt Shiltz: There are so many things I love about football! But I really enjoy working towards a goal. There’s a big goal at the end of the year and that’s obviously to win the championship and winning the Super Bowl in the NFL. But there are so many smaller goals you have to accomplish along the way. Every day you want to accomplish something, and you string together all those little accomplishments and can see how much you’ve grown as a player and as a team and it’s rewarding. Football is the ultimate team sport. You need everyone on the same page working to meet the same goal and that’s what I love most about football.

Me: What is the most memorable moment of your football career thus far?

Matt Shiltz: That’s tough. There are a lot of great moments. Winning back to back conference championships in 2012 and 2013 when I was playing special teams and DB and making the FCS playoffs the following year was pretty amazing.

And one of the most memorable games of all time was my last homecoming game against Campbell University. It was a wild finish. We were down by a score of two late in the game. I caught a touchdown on a reverse pass to get us back into the game. Then we had this two minute drive at the end of the game and wide receiver Brandon Collins made two big plays. I was flushed from the pocket on 4th and 10 and threw a Hail Mary prayer and he went up and made a spectacular play. Then later he makes a one handed catch to take the lead and the defense was able to hold on to get us the win. It was wild experience.

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The photographer, Jimmy Lafakis, is a freshman who has been shooting all the games for all the athletic teams. He Takes spectacular photos. He’s a great kid and I hope the best for him.

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Me: Who in the NFL would you compare your play style to? What players do you look up to as inspirations? Why?

Matt Shiltz: Growing up I looked up to Steve Young. I’m a huge Chicago sports fan, but for some reason I have always loved the 49ers so of course I loved Steve Young. I had a poster of him on my wall when I was a kid. He was a great player, a game manager, very mobile, and I have that in my game. The only difference is he’s a leftie and I’m a rightie.

And a lot of people say my play style resembles Colin Kaepernick. We’re both mobile with a strong arm and he fits the spread offense style that I came from.

I like to watch Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers because they are the best at the position. I want to balance my mobility with the way Brady and Rodgers handle the game, prepare, and take control over the entire game in the pocket.

Me: What makes you stand out as a player? What separates you from other quarterbacks? 

Matt Shiltz: My mobility. I ran a 4.6 40 which was the fastest of any quarterback at the combine. I actually switched over to playing defense my sophomore year because of some injuries to some of the guys on the team. This gave me the opportunity to get some playing time and to help the team win. I learned an entirely new position, CB and DB, and played on special teams. That knowledge is really helpful now that I’m playing quarterback again because I know how a CB will react to certain routes, how they will break down my film when they watch me. It’s unique and not a lot of quarterbacks can play defense at the college level. And I was excited for the challenge and to be able to help the team win a conference championship that year.

The no huddle style offense is also something that separates me from other quarterbacks. My ability to process information is one of my stronger qualities. I have to be a leader and make sure that the offense is on the same page. I can quickly analyze the defense to find the best options to put my guys in a position to succeed on the next play. The no huddle system I played at college will definitely transfer to the next level and that sets me apart.

Me: Tell me about working with Butler Head Coach Jeff Voris. What piece of advice did he give you that altered your play the most?

Matt Shiltz: Jeff is one of the best coaches I’ve ever gotten to play for. He recruited me from high school. He’s a really confident guy and so well spoken. Every practice he’s inspiring. And with him it’s all about preparation. He taught me how to prepare for a season, a game, a practice even. He always says that your preparation Monday through Friday will take care of itself  on Saturday. I spend a lot time in meeting rooms with receivers, the offensive coordinator, the offensive line, the quarterback coach and watch film as much as I can. This way by the time Saturday comes, the game comes easy and fast and you react. One saying I’ll always remember from him is “the scoreboard will take care of itself.” Whoever is more prepared will win the game. The game is won based on the work you put in Monday through Friday. My preparation will really help me make it at the next level.

Me: Give me a glimpse of your workout schedule and what you’re doing to prepare for a career with the NFL.

Matt Shiltz: I started Combine training back in January at the school’s facilities. Strength coach Jim Teal and his assistants have really helped me get my body right for combine testing and training. As far as throwing goes, I’ve been working with receivers in the area, including  Marquese Martin-Hayes, a receiver who also played last year. Sometimes our schedules conflict, but we’re trying to help each other out as often as possible. Typically I lift 3-4 days a week, run and throw 3 days a week, and go to yoga once a week to work on my flexibility and to stay loose and healthy. I’m training Monday-Saturday and I use Sunday to let my body recover. It’s hard to find a guru to work with while taking classes full time, but I’ve been able to work on my five and seven step drops that I need to work on for the next level. I’m always busy and keeping my body ready.

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Me: What was it like working out with the Bears, Colts, and Stampeders?

Matt: Just 10 days ago  I was working out with the Colts and Thursday I was with the Bears and the CFL team the Calagry Stampeders. It was a great experience. It’s something you dream about when you’re a kid so to actually work out in front of the GM, coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback coach, it was amazing. It was a great experience that I’ll always hold onto.

Me: Is there a major difference between the CFL and the NFL that you can see?

Matt: There are different rules in CFL and it seems like passing a high priority in CFL. The  type of offense is more of a college style with the spread, timing, and downfield play. Pro style is more under center and getting protection which is something I’m familiar with because at Butler the quarterback is responsible for a lot in the offense.

Me: What current NFL offense do you think suits your playing style?

Matt: Any team would be a dream come true, but I would say the 49ers because Chip Kelley likes to run the spread offense and that’s what we ran in college.

But I like the local teams [the Bears and the Colts] a lot. I grew up in Chicago and they have great fans, a great organization, and great history. It would be great to have my friends and family coming to the games to support me. And being in Indy the last five years I’ve gotten to really like the Colts. Indy is a great city and the team is on the rise.

To get an opportunity with any NFL or CFL team would be a great a opportunity. I’ve played football since I was six and to be able to do it for a living would be a dream come true.

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Me: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not training and playing football?

Matt: In my spare time I drive for Uber for extra money. I like meeting new people and talking to people and it’s a good way to avoid the distractions on a college campus. I also try to learn to play the guitar so I can play with my dad, but its hard with training. Back in middle school and high school I did a lot of magic tricks. If there’s a deck of cards lying around I still have a few card tricks in hand to liven up the room. It’s hard to find free time because I’m training Monday through Saturday and taking classes full time, but I watch a lot of sports when I can. I’m a big Chicago sports fan and just a sports fan in general.

Me: What’s your favorite sports movie of all time?

Matt: Wow. I’d have to say Friday Night Lights the move. I haven’t really watched the show but I’ve heard good things about it. Invincible with Mark Walhberg, the movie where he walks on to the Philadelphia Eagles, is another great one. It kind of resembles my story with a small school player trying to make an NFL roster. And of course you can’t go wrong with Remember the Titans.

Me: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you?

Matt: We’ve covered a lot. But if football doesn’t  work out I’d like to get into coaching. Football really is my passion and I want to go to work every day loving what I do. Football makes me feel different when I’m around it. Just thinking about where I came from, a freshman to a 5th year senior trying to make it in the NFL has been a remarkable journey and it’s something I want really badly.

The journey I went through in the recruiting process from high school to college is also something I want to share. I wasn’t even supposed to be a starter my senior year because my friend, a baseball player, was the starting quarterback. Then he broke his hand playing baseball so I was thrust into the starting role and had to take over the leadership of the team. We had success and I won the job when he came back from injury. Thankfully, he was able to help the team by playing as a receiver. He handled the situation really well and there was no animosity between us at all. He ended playing baseball at Minnesota. Anyway, that opened up the door for me to be able to play in college. My recruiting was late and slow, but Butler extended and offer to me. They believed in me and they really wanted me and I was very fortunate and didn’t expect that to happen going into senior year.

It’s crazy how life works out. You just never know what can happen and you can’t take anything for granted. You always have to be prepared to step up when it’s your time.

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Matt Shiltz exemplifies hard work and commitment both on and off the field. He has a great balance of explosive mobility and an accurate arm, and compliments this athletic ability with his leadership skills and ability process information quickly. As one of the top rated quarterbacks at the combine, we fully expect to see great things coming from Matt Shiltz in the future.

 

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