Stevenson, Ala.--One of the top junior college running backs in the 2017 class, 6-2, 200 Octavius Matthews from Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, is currently committed to the Louisville Cardinals, but over the weekend he was on the Auburn campus for Big Cat Weekend and liked what he saw from Gus Malzahn's program.
Getting a feel for the Tigers while on the visit with former high school coach and fomrer Auburn offensive lineman Mark Rose, Matthews said there’s a lot to like about Auburn after checking things out on the Plains.
“I really like it down there,” Matthews said. “I look forward to getting down there on another visit real soon.
“I know that Roc Thomas just left so that gives me an advantage,” he added of the Tigers’ depth chart. “Jovon Robinson will be leaving, too, so the only people that would be here would be me, Malik (Miller) and Kerryon (Johnson). I’m just looking forward to the challenge.”
Saying he’s still committed to Louisville, Matthews admitted that the Auburn visit changed his thinking on the Tigers and could potentially impact where he enrolls in January after getting the offer.
“A lot,” Matthews said of how much Auburn helped their chances with the visit. “I’m still committed to Louisville though. They’re still my number one.
“Auburn is number two,” he added. “They were number two coming in because they were the only team talking to me out of high school.”
Planning to return next week and spend more time with Robinson and learn more about Auburn, Matthews said he spent a lot of time with Auburn’s projected starter at the position on Saturday and he liked what he heard.
“It went good,” Matthews said. “They treated me as a family as soon as I got here. That’s what I really liked about it.”
As a freshman at Itawamba, Matthews ran for 808 yards and scored four touchdowns on just 90 carries. Expected to have a much bigger role in 2017 as a sophomore, Matthews could be a player that sees his stock soar this fall.
Planning to visit both Auburn and Louisville officially this fall, Matthews said it’s a very close race in his mind to see where he winds up next year.
“It’s real close right now,” Matthews said. “I don’t know what I want to do right now. I need to talk to my family and coaches.”