The next Farniok could be the best football prospect of all

If you thought you had heard the last of the Farniok family when it comes to top-level football talent, think again.

The next big thing (literally) is Matt Farniok, who will start as a sophomore at left tackle for defending state champion Washington this fall.

The 15-year-old stands 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds and has made a big impression at various recruiting combines this summer, leaving little doubt that he will become the third member of his family to play at the major Division I level.

Tom Farniok is a starting junior center at Iowa State and Derek is a sophomore tackle at Oklahoma, but Matt has a chance to surpass both brothers in terms of size, power and technique on the front line.

“He’s doing very well,” says Tom, a 6-4, 287-pounder who is drawing early NFL Draft buzz. “He’s by far the best out of all of us.”

That’s high praise in this family, but Matt is making it count. He was named overall MVP of the National Underclassmen Combine (NUC) Midwest event in Indianapolis this summer after posting a 26-inch vertical leap and benching 27 repetitions of 155 pounds.

He manhandled foes in blocking drills despite a nasty gash under his eye suffered during the camp.

That effort got him invited to the national NUC showcase at the University of Oklahoma, where he was named offensive line MVP for his age division and drew comparisons to brother Derek, who stands 6-9, 325 and is expected to see increased action this fall for the Sooners.

“I’m built a little more like Derek than I am Tom, but they both set a great example,” said Matt. “It helps out a ton to have older brothers who can help me out with technique and football or just give me advice.”

Farniok also attended individual camps at Iowa State and Oklahoma and picked up a scholarship offer from the Cyclones, his first official offer but certainly not his last. With three high school seasons left and room to grow on a Derek-like frame, the kid is no hurry to make a college choice.

“Right now I’m just keeping my options open,” said Matt. “I’m too young to make a decision on that.”

He’s more concerned with maintaining the recent title wave at Washington, where there are plenty of new faces on the field – not to mention the sideline. Brian Hermanson, who guided the Warriors to three state crowns over the past four years, stepped down and was replaced by former Howard and Flandreau coach Chad Stadem.

Farniok sees a unique chance to put his own stamp on the dynasty as one of the leaders for the new-era Warriors. He saw varsity action as a freshman last season but will now be looked upon as a key part of what Washington tries to accomplish up front.

“This season should be a lot of fun with new coaches and a whole new scheme,” Farniok said. “We’re definitely ready to go.”

And no matter what happens, the football lineage of the Farnioks is in good hands. Waiting his turn is Will Farniok, who plays more like a Tom disciple and is entering the eighth grade this fall at Patrick Henry Middle School.

That’s exciting news for area recruiters and the Washington Warriors, but potentially disturbing for everyone else.