Coach Feels Farniok Open-Minded Heading into Home Stretch

January 15, 2016

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

We’re closing in on National Signing Day. Prospects will sit at tables surrounded by family looking out at friends and classmates in the audience. Hats representing their favorite schools displayed in front of them, they’ll place the chosen one on their heads.

This scene won’t be unfolding at Sioux Falls (S.D.) Washington High. Coach Chad Stadem is predicting a much more low-key announcement for talented offensive lineman Matt Farniok.

“I wouldn’t want it that way but more importantly, Matt won’t want it that way. Matt will tell his family and some of us at school and that’s how it will leak out. That’s kind of how it will happen,” Stadem said.

Farniok has narrowed his long list of prospective schools down to Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska. He’s officially visited Nebraska, scheduled to be at Michigan State this weekend and wrap things up at Iowa next weekend.

“Matt is kind of a quiet guy. He keeps things to himself. He’s kind of private. And that’s why you’re not going to see a lot of hoopla from him. He doesn’t want any of that,” Stadem said. “I don’t think he really knows where he’s going for sure. I think he’s going to sit and chew on it (after the Iowa visit). He’s not going to be the kind of guy that’s going to wait until signing day. He’ll sit back for a bit and chew on it and see what the best fit is.”

Iowa Offensive Line Coach Brian Ferentz visited Washington High on Friday, Stadem said. The Hawkeyes have been recruiting Farniok for a long time and have built a strong relationship with him.

“Iowa obviously has done well and the coaching staff there is outstanding. You couldn’t ask for better guys and they’re very good at what they do. I mean, look how many football players they put into the pros from an O-Lineman aspect. Matt has looked into that,” Stadem said.

The 247 Recruiting Network ranks Farniok as the 12th best offensive tackle nationally in the 2016 Class and a four-star prospect. Rivals and Scout see him as a three-star and 39 and 31, respectively, at his position.

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Farniok (6-foot-6, 310-pounds) also reported scholarship offers from Florida State, Florida, California, Stanford, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Missouri, among others. He spent his entire career at left tackle before being switched to right guard at last week’s Army All-American game in San Antonio.

“Man, he looked good. He did a really nice job,” Stadem said. “That just goes to show his versatility. He can play all five positions on the O-Line. He has the potential to be a good football player at the higher levels just because because he’s able to play any position.”

His coach said Farniok’s quick feet serve him well. He also understands the game and is willing to listen when he needs to improve on something.

“He takes pride in what he does and he takes constructive criticism well. He’s very coachable,” Stadem said. “One thing that’s really improved over the last year and a half is his leadership. He got the guys in his group to focus in. He took pride in the O-Linemen.

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“And he never big-timed anyone. He see everyone as the same. He’s a team guy. He’s not concerned about who’s the best player. He just wants to to got and play and win. That’s the kind of guy he is.”

Stadem believes Farniok’s final three schools reflect his beliefs.

“I think just the quality of coaches and the players they’ve had over the years. They’re just three great schools and they have great staffs. So, I think he’s narrowed it down to three really good schools,” Stadem said.

And they traditionally feature strong offensive line play with a style Farniok prefers.

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“He’s been recruited by a lot of different types of systems,” Stadem said. “We’re a zone scheme, outside zone, inside zone. We’re a power team and he’s kind of been raised up through that, just the power, downhill run scheme.

“It’s very much kind of like what Iowa does. He’s very familiar with what they do. That’s his upbringing and he feels more comfortable in that type of system and that’s why I think the last three schools that he’s narrowed it down to fit that mold of what he likes to see in O-Linemen.”

Despite Farniok keeping his thoughts to himself, not even sharing a lot of how he’s feeling about schools with his coach, predictions have him picking Nebraska. Lincoln is a three-hour drive from Sioux Falls.

“That would be the obvious speculation because he would be so close to home but this part of South Dakota has a lot of Nebraska and Iowa fans,” Stadem said. “I don’t think there’s much difference. Iowa City is only like 6 1/2 hours away.

“So, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a big deal. He’s made visits to Iowa and Nebraska to watch games. So, I could see either one to tell you the truth.”

And the coach isn’t counting out Michigan State, either.

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