Thomas Matthews - A winner on and off the field

From Feb. 2000

Thomas Matthews (center, speaking)

Thomas Matthews came on the Ohio State football scene rather quickly.  The news of his visit did not come up until shortly before he took the trip, and when he announced that he had committed on his visit, Buckeye fans were anxious to know more about him.  We were able to catch up with coach Joe Redmond at Ft. Lauderdale Dillard High School to find out more about Thomas, and it turns out that not only is Ohio State getting a great athlete on the field, but they are getting a tremendous person off the field as well.

"Thomas is a trendsetter," coach Redmond told us.  "He's an excellent player, and he has been a 3.3 student since 9th grade."  

Thomas has the accolades to prove it.  He was voted co-team MVP this year, and he has also won awards from the Urban League for excellence in academics.  "He is a quality youngster," Coach Redmond said.  "One of character and commitment." 

Thomas (left) stands with his mother (holding up an award won by Thomas) and father.

All of Ohio State's recruits stand out on the football field.  But standing out where Thomas goes to school isn't easy.  Dillard High School has definitely had its share of talent in the past, and this year alone, it has at least three other players (LB George Lewis, DB Junior Rosegreen, and RB Raymond Perkins) that are being courted by major Division I programs.  But despite all that talent, Thomas has definitely been one to stand out for Dillard in his career.  Coach Redmond said it best: "He was a four-year starter, so what does that tell you?"  

Thomas registered over 140 tackles for Dillard in his senior season, and he also won second-team All-State honors at linebacker for Florida Class 6A.  He's listed at 205 pounds, which is a little undersized for a linebacker right now, but that is because he's always on the go.  "He plays football and basketball and runs all the time, so he can't gain weight," Coach Redmond said.  

Thomas' Mom, Dad and Sister hold up his jersey, which was retired after the season.

In addition to being a great athlete, Thomas is also a very smart player.  "He has the ability to learn a great deal," Coach Redmond said. "He responds to whatever you tell him.  He has 100% commitment." Coach Redmond said that Thomas has two great parents, and his great attitude comes from them. Coach Redmond also told us that Thomas is the team leader, and he doesn't make mistakes.  "He very seldom puts you in a bad situation," Redmond said.  

Coach Redmond feels Thomas has what it takes to make an impact early and often at Ohio State.  He knows that OSU has many fine players on defense, but he still feels that Thomas will make a big-time mark.  Even if he happens to get moved to safety, Coach Redmond feels he has the ability to perform.  "He just gets the job done," Redmond said.

In a time when it seems like too many athletes are representing their institutions poorly, Thomas sounds like a breath of fresh air.  Coach Redmond proudly calls him "an ambassador for Dillard High School."  No question about it, Thomas definitely appears to have what fans look for on and off the field in a football player, and he sounds like he is the type of person that OSU fans will be proud to call a Buckeye.

Special thanks to Coach Redmond for the interview!!!  Special thanks to Coach Redmond and the Matthews family for the pictures!

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