Stevenson, Ala.--A talented junior college running back who was committed to Louisville prior to his Big Cat Weekend visit on Saturday, former North Jackson High School standout and current Itawamba (Miss.) Community College player Octavius Matthews wasted little time in flipping to the Auburn Tigers with a decision coming one day later.
“I spent Saturday night with the players and it’s really a family that wanted me,” Matthews told Inside the Auburn Tigers. “They really treated me like family already and I liked that. My mom, she liked it too.
“Knowing they're only going to have one running back coming back that's really got to me,” he added. “That's really what made me want to commit.”
Spending much of his Saturday visit with senior running back Jovon Robinson, Matthews said he got a good feel for the program and campus while back on the Plains. Auburn is not unfamiliar to him, however, as he was recruited by the Tigers out of high school before ending up in junior college last season.
“I like them a lot,” Matthews said. “They’re the ones that got me to the juco in Mississippi. When I was in high school Coach (Gus Malzahn) said he was going to stay in touch with me and that’s what he did. Two years later now I’m there.”
Octavius Matthews is Auburn's first running back commitment for the 2017 signee class.
The need at running back spoke volumes to him, said Matthews. With Kerryon Johnson and Malik Miller the only two players on scholarship for 2017 at the position, he said having the chance to play early is big for him.
“They said they’ll only have one running back after Jovon leaves,” he noted. “That’s really what made me want to commit because they’re not going to have any running backs and Coach said they should have five or six running backs.”
Adding that Malzahn was really excited when he got the news on Sunday, Matthews said at the moment he’s solid with his commitment to the Tigers with teams still trying to recruit him. An in-state player who has always liked Auburn, Matthews said he’s excited about getting to play for the Tigers beginning in December.
“I’m ready to get down there,” Matthews said. “I’ll be back there this weekend.”
As a freshman at Itawamba, Matthews ran for 808 yards and four touchdowns on just 90 carries.