A little background on Cheraw-Chesterfield: both schools are in the same county. They are about 15 minutes apart; both schools are AA, but about 4,500 people were at the game. Former South Carolina quarterback Steve Tannyhill is the coach at Chesterfield – and he really likes to throw it. Both schools really don't like one another.
On to Matthews...
Matthews played about 95% of the snaps during the game. By the time the contest was over he was spent. His team pulled out a win in the closing moments of the game with about a 20-yard field goal. The stands erupted There was a lot of commotion after the game.
Matthews rushed a fair amount Friday night. Because Chesterfield threw the ball non stop he got tons of chances to get his pressure on the quarterback. Still, the opposition threw a lot of sideline patterns, so Matthews was only so effective rushing the passer.
The thing about Matthews is that he is a true pass rusher; he will not play tight end in college. Matthews is huge for high school ball. He's pretty big already for the college level. Matthews has huge hands – huge. I am not sure I have yet seen a player as big as him with his athleticism in this year's class. He can run down the line to make tackles and jump over players trying to take his legs out from under him.
Matthews is lean, but big. He's tall – about 6-5, maybe 6-6 – and will likely easily add 20 pounds over the next two years.
In short, Matthews is one of the top players in South Carolina – perhaps the top non-skill guy in the state. I think he might have the most potential of any player in the South. Remember that he currently spends a fair amount of time playing high school and AAU basketball. If his attention was squarely on football now he would be stunningly good. Don't think that Matthews is a project, either. He could play college football right now, but his potential could take him farther than that. Every once in a while you witness players with the bodies of a professional athlete in high school – Matthews is not that far away from that now. The way Matthews runs is like a college basketball player (smooth and athletic), not a goofy high school lineman (lumbering and sluggish).
I have few questions about Matthews, but he certainly gets exhausted playing offense and defense in high school – it's obvious. That, to me, leads to him taking plays off on offense.
NOTE: The below video is NOT a highlight reel. It is about 45% of the downs Matthews played against Chesterfield – specifically the ones he was involved in. I think it is a little more realistic way of seeing what a high school player is like.
Cliff Matthews vs. Chesterfield (SC)