Meet 4-Star Matt Farniok, Small-Town Star with Big-Time Football Lineage

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystMarch 4, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

As the nation's top-ranked player in South Dakota, 4-star offensive lineman Matt Farniok is the first to admit there isn't much to do where he lives.

The state's tourist attractions that many outsiders learn about—Mount Rushmore in Keystone and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, for example—are a few hours from Farniok's hometown of Sioux Falls. And even with Sioux Falls being the largest city in South Dakota, Farniok said the highlights of a good weekend normally involve hanging out with friends.

This leaves Farniok with plenty of time to perfect his craft as a versatile lineman. And with the respected football lineage set before him, spending that quality time to get better is encouraged. Almost mandatory.

Farniok is the third of four brothers preparing to go through the buzzsaw that is the college football recruiting process. With double-digit offers, Farniok is following his older brothers, Tom and Derek, who are offensive linemen on the FBS level.

Add in his father, Brad, and his uncle, Bob Reeves, who both played college football, and it's easy to see that there's pressure to excel.

Or is there?

"I don't know if it's pressure, but I know I want to do well like them," said Matt, a 6'6", 315-pound lineman who can play guard or tackle at the next level. "We've all got the same mentality of getting it done and doing it right. That's all I want to do, do it right."

Tom Farniok (6'4", 301 lbs) just finished his senior year with Iowa State and was an all-Big 12 center. Derek Farniok (6'9", 329 lbs) just completed his redshirt junior year for the Sooners and played in all 13 games.

Brad was a lineman for St. Cloud State in Minnesota in the 1980s. Reeves was a two-sport athlete in the 1980s at South Dakota State. He played tight end in football and was a standout pitcher in baseball.

And for those keeping score, the youngest brother, 2018's Will Farniok, is an up-and-coming interior lineman. Matt is expecting to be varsity teammates with his younger brother in the fall.

With so much talent in one family, it's easy to assume competition is high among the males. Matt said he's been able to get along with the tutelage of his older brothers, whom he considers his "other coaches," as well as with noteworthy advice from his father.

Two words: Stay mean.

"He told me, 'You're not out there to make friends on the field,'" Matt said. "'You're out there to win.'"

Credit: 247Sports

As a lineman at Sioux Falls' Washington High School, Farniok has been an impressive prospect—so impressive that he now has offers from Michigan State, Florida State, Nebraska, Stanford, Arizona State, Iowa and others.

Oh, and he has an Iowa State offer, as well, just in case he wanted to follow in his oldest brother's footsteps. Oklahoma is showing interest but hasn't offered, according to 247Sports. Farniok said a decision shouldn't be expected until after spring when he's had a chance to do more research and take some campus visits.

Farniok said that he hasn't ruled out attending one of his brother's programs, but he added that he has plenty of time to make the educated decision that's best for him. It's that attitude, along with his play on the field, that made Tom call Matt the chosen one of sorts.

In a story that ran in November, Tom told Stu Whitney of the Argus Leader that Matt is the best of the four brothers. He called his little brother "a freak of nature."

"He walks into our locker room [at Iowa State], and he looks like he belongs there," Tom told Whitney. "He's by far the best out of all of us. Genetically, we got it pretty good, but he absolutely hit the jackpot."

Matt said he laughed when he read the story. He knows the no-nonsense Tom, someone who refuses to let his little brother slack with strength and conditioning. He also knows Derek, someone who isn't as strict but still demands excellence.

"They've been really helpful," Matt said. "They'll watch my game film and give me feedback on what's good and what I need to work with.

"I think Tom's a little more edgy most of the time. Derek can reel it back some and be calmer. But they both push me."

The results of the hard work have been respectable. Farniok is the nation's No. 16 offensive tackle and the No. 160 player overall nationally. He's a self-described "greedy" person when it comes to success. If he gets an offer, he's working harder to earn another.

Farniok will test his skills in May at The Opening regional in Oakland, California. While he's in California, Farniok said he'd like to visit Stanford if the opportunity presents itself.

When it comes to family matters, Farniok is next up on the college football circuit. Playing at or above the level of his brothers is a goal, but being the best Matt Farniok possible is the top priority.

"I just love playing the game," he said. "You can stick me wherever you want on the field, as long as I'm playing. I know around the nation, there are people better or just as good. I just want to do whatever I can to make sure I outwork them."

And if that means Tom's prediction of Matt being the best Farniok comes to fruition, then so be it.

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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