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  • Peter Schaffer

Getting to know Broncos rookie QB John Matocha

Getting to know Broncos rookie QB John Matocha: "I was extremely blessed to receive an offer to rookie minicamp and I’m ready to make the most of it and take advantage and earn a spot on the team," Matocha said.

GOLDEN, Colo. — There will be two quarterbacks participating in the Bronco’s rookie minicamp this weekend.

One is the NCAA all-time leader in touchdown passes and total touchdowns.

The other is Bo Nix.

“I’m excited to meet all the guys and especially Bo and form a relationship with him,’’ said John Matocha, the brilliant-in-more-ways-than-one quarterback from the Colorado School of Mines.

Nix seems like the type where the feeling will be mutual. The well-deserved headliner of the Broncos’ rookie minicamp as the team’s first-round draft pick, Nix set two NCAA records with 61 career starts and a 77.45% single-season completion percentage last year as a fifth-year senior at Oregon.

The 5-foot-11 Matocha went undrafted and unsigned as an undrafted college free agent even though he went 51-7 for the Mines Orediggers with three NCAA Division II Final Fours and two Division II championship appearances. He needed just four years to set all-division college records for touchdown passes (162) to break the record held by Shepherd’s Tyson Bagent, and total touchdowns produced (191 on 162 passing; 28 rushing and one receiving) to break the old mark set by Houston’s Case Keenum (178).

Playing before standing-room only crowds at Marv Kay Stadium the past two years, Matocha was the Harlan Hill winner as Division II’s best player in 2022 and the Hill runner-up in 2023. And then it was time to move on to professional football which meant starting over on the bottom rung.

“The draft was a little interesting,’’ Matocha said. “I’ll be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I think being a UDFA would have been a real cool opportunity. And I think I have the talent for it but some things are out of your control and I’m going to continue to attack and take advantage of opportunities I get.

“I’ve always been a little bit of an underdog most of my career, due to my size and due to playing at a Division II school. I know there’s a few teams that probably overlooked me. But that’s just more motivation and I’m happy and blessed for the opportunity that I do have. Now I’ve got to go out there and show it. I’m not upset. No grudges or anything like that. I was extremely blessed to receive an offer to rookie minicamp and I’m ready to make the most of it and take advantage and earn a spot on the team.”

Of the nearly 60 players who will participate in the Broncos’ minicamp, Matocha may be the only one who has a full-time job on the side. And most certainly the only one who has full-time employment as a computer software developer for Tyler Technologies in Lakewood.

During his sensational college football career, Matocha earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the academic-prestigious Mines while carrying a 3.6 grade-point average. He may have been more consistent in the classroom than he was on the field as he made the honor roll and dean’s list every semester during his 4 ½ years at Mines.

You think you’re daily schedule is packed? Matocha trains early in the morning, then heads to Tyler for a full-day’s work, then trains again after work.

“It’s definitely busy, busy days but I was really enjoying the process and Tyler Technologies has been phenomenal,’’ Matocha said. “I can’t say enough good things about them with what they’ve afforded me, knowing my hours may be a little bit crazy and a little bit awkward but knowing I’ll get the work done and they’ve been super flexible.”

The hope is he lands another full-time job. The Broncos will get the first chance to hire him, although it will take some doing to find a roster spot for him as they already have four quarterbacks in Nix, Zach Wilson, Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci.

If he isn’t signed by the Broncos after this weekend, Matocha has a standing offer with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, where teams are currently in training camp.

One way or the way, Matocha is going to give professional football a go.

As for the Broncos, Matocha had been training at Pivotal Sports Performance in Parker and more recently has been working out at the Mines’ Marv Kay Stadium football facility in Golden.

The Broncos did not provide Matocha with an advanced peek at the playbook. Nix may have one but he’s already got the team made.

“I think part of the training and the tryouts is to go in there and pick up the playbook quickly and execute it the next day,’’ Matocha said. “That’s something I think coming from the School of Mines I have an advantage. Being able to process quickly and pick up the playbook and any kind of material and execute it at a high level.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to show them what I’ve got and trying to prove that I belong out there. And that comes from learning the playbook to being a good teammate to completing the passes. The whole deal.”

Matocha's college stats  

2023: 14-1

Rushing: 106 carries, 658 yards, 5 TD

Passing: 333 of 471 (70.7%), 4,298 yards, 43 TD, 7 INT

2022: 13-3

Rushing: 133 carries, 649 yards, 5 TD

Passing: 348 of 506 (69.8%), 4,778 yards, 52 TD, 8 INT

2021: 12-2

Rushing: 154 carries, 751 yards, 7 TD

Passing: 260 of 382 (68.1%), 3,105 yards, 38 TD, 8 INT

2019: 12-1 (top 16)

Rushing: 145 carries, 756 yards, 11 TD

Passing: 252 of 342 (73.7%), 2,825 yards, 29 TD, 5 INT

Receiving: 2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD

Career Totals:

Rushing: 538 carries, 2,814 yards, (5.2), 28 TD

Passing: 1,193 completions, 1,701 attempts, (70.1%) 15,006 yards, 162 TD, 28 INT

Receiving: 2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD

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