Matt Struck: Level-Headed Leader

Matt Struck is the 6-4 225 starting quarterback for the Southwest Kansas Storm. 

Humble Beginnings  

Five-year-old Matt Struck’s mother, Jeannette, was a hair stylist in San Mateo, California. Her job led her to cut hair for some legendary San Francisco 49ers back in the day and also to be the hair stylist of Tom Brady’s high school coach. 

That led to five-year-old Matt Struck playing catch on Tom Brady’s high school field one day with the greatest of all time himself. 

“That really absolutely sparked my love for him as a player.” “He was the guy who made me fall in love with the position and all the intricacies that come with it, not just completing the ball, but the leadership aspect of it, being the most mature person in the room, how it’s a physiological game and a checkers match against the defense.” 

Struck was raised in a single-parent home by Jeannette. As an only child, it was always just him and his mom. 

Jannette was a huge 49ers fan and imprinted the love of football into Matt at a young age. His early years were spent in San Mateo, California, and Bay Area before moving to Oregon around the age of 8. 

Struck went on to be a standout quarterback at Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon. As a senior, he threw for 2,717 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading his team to an undefeated regular season. 

During his Junior season, he began to receive interest from FCS and Division II schools. While in school at Crater High, head coach John Beck told unbelieving recruiters that his quarterback could throw the ball 60 yards “through a window.”

Don’t forget to check out new merch in the AFL Shop!

College Career

Struck wanted to play at Oregon State. He grew up a fan of the Beavers, and they were his dream school. Everything was lining up. Then, at the last minute, there was a small hiccup. Due to the wrong coding on his transcripts for an English class he took as a freshman, he was deemed a “non-qualifier.”

Struck attended Riverside Community College in Riverside, California, for two years. He split time with two former five-star Under Armor all-American quarterbacks. After Struck’s sophomore season, all three quarterbacks went on to play Division I football.

Struck went to Idaho State, where he got into the mix in his second season. In 11 games, Struck threw for 2,334 yards and 20 touchdowns. Struck’s head coach at Idaho State, Rob Phenicie, shared his thoughts on Struck.

“He’s just one of those guys that the football gods hit his arm with lightning. He’s got an incredibly strong arm. It’s just effortless how he throws the ball,” he explained.

The extra “COVID year” of eligibility gave Struck the opportunity to graduate transfer. Ultimately, Bobby Petrino convinced Matt to transfer to Missouri State where he’d see plenty of playing time and have the ability to play in twice as many games as the “spring season” FCS had that year. Missouri State won their first conference title in 31 years under Struck and Petrino.

Struck mom Jeannette had a rough bout with COVID-19 and ended up in the ICU. Having always just been the two of them it was time for Matt to go home and nurse his mom back to health. That allowed Matt to play close to his mom and home in Southern Oregon.

That Pesky Injury

In Week 5 of his first season at Southern Oregon, Struck went down with an injury for the first time in his career. He dislocated his shoulder and tore his Labrum on a zone read play where he ran the ball.

Struck tried to find the best to fix his shoulder and selected a well-renowned shoulder specialist to repair his arm.

After about five months, things weren’t progressing in Struck’s recovery. He continued to try and push through all through fall camp. Before the season’s first game, he received a few pain shots to try and get through the game.

Unfortunately, the arm only lasted about four throws into the game. He retore his Labrum and all the clips that were put in his arm. That brought his world to a halt.

This time, Struck found a much better surgeon who understood the problem and got it fixed properly. Struck knew almost immediately after surgery that things were much different this time. The healing process was quicker, and he was able to start throwing much sooner.

The Current Chapter

After competing in the All-Star Trillion Tropical Bowl and speaking with teams from the NFL, CFL, and some European leagues, Struck decided the Arena Football League would be a great place to continue showcasing his talents.

Head Coach Gary Thomas agreed. Thomas contacted Struck as early as January trying to recruit the stud quarterback to come play for the Storm.

When coach Thomas reached back out in March, things aligned for Struck. This was the perfect opportunity to get some tape post-injury and show that he’s still the quarterback he was before the injuries.

Showing what kind of a quarterback he is is exactly what Struck has done. He’s done nothing but impress since he took over the lead role in Southwest Kansas.

Struck has embraced the changes from the outdoor football game to the indoor game. He’s also embraced small-town Kansas.

Growing up in California and then a more populated Oregon area, Struck was shocked when, when he arrived in Dodge City, coach Thomas took all of eight minutes to show him around town.

For as small as the town is, their sense of community has overwhelmed Struck.

“We appreciate the support, the conversations in public and on game day.”

He hopes to continue representing Dodge City and Southwest Kansas throughout the playoffs.

Regarding the playoffs, which start next week, Struck said the team believes they match up player for player against every team in the league. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is when they show up and play their best game. He thinks they can beat any team in this year’s playoff field.

The Southwest Kansas Storm will head to Salina, Kansas, to take on the Salina Liberty on Saturday, July 6th, at 4:00 p.m. ET for the first round of the AFL playoffs.

Leave a comment

Contact Us

[email protected]

Feedback | Insight | Info | Inquiry | Partnership

Sign up to be an AFL Insider. Get the latest updates, game day recaps and news directly to you!