Cliff Matthews: "A Clean Slate"

Cheraw (SC) standout defensive end Cliff Matthews was on the verge of announcing his college decision on Thursday, August 17, but a last minute change of plans altered his timeframe. Read inside for more.

After a long discussion with his family on Monday morning, Cliff Matthews decided it was in his and his family's best interest to wait until a later date to make a final decision on which school he would attend next fall. "I just decided to wait right now, just take my time, and enjoy the (recruiting) process a little. Why rush?"

When asked if there was any one thing that led him to this decision, Matthews responded, "I spoke with one of my spiritual leaders, and I just felt I needed my mom included in the process. All of the trips I took, they were with one of my coaches. I just want my mom to know and understand where I'm going."

Matthews also stated that he wants "to review some of the reports and numbers that were given (to him) to be sure they are all accurate." Matthews said that wherever he goes, he wants to be sure it is the right decision.

When asked if he had previously made a definite decision, as had been reported, he answered, "At the time, yes, but everyone is even now. I want to go into all of my visits with an open mind and a clean slate for everyone. The decision will still be left up to me, but I want my mom to meet the coaching staffs and tour the campuses. I want her to be comfortable with my decision as well."

Matthews had planned on revealing his college choice by donning the selected team's jersey, and Matthews confirmed on Monday that the jersey had already been purchased. "Yes, the jersey was purchased, and that's how I was going to reveal my team."

However, now that he has decided to slow the recruiting process down, Matthews stated that no one team holds the edge for his services. "I still could change my mind; I have coaches on the staff that pull for several of my choices. I can give one of them the jersey (if he changes his mind). Again, as of today, everyone is even. I'm just asking everyone to give me some space. I'm concentrating on my team's season right now. I get a lot of people asking me, where are you gonna go? Right now, I don't know, but when I do I'll let everyone know. This will probably be my last interview for a while. I just want to get away from the madness and try and get back to state."

Matthews, who is rated as the #21 defensive end prospect in the nation by, is planning to take several unofficial visits this fall. In September, Matthews will be visiting South Carolina for their home contests against Georgia and Auburn. In October, Matthews is planning on attending the Tennessee/Georgia game in Athens (GA), the Alabama/Tennessee game in Knoxville (TN), and the Tennessee/South Carolina game in Columbia (SC). In November, he will travel down to "The Plains" to see Auburn host Georgia, and he will conclude his fall travel plans by visiting Clemson for the annual, in-state rivalry game between South Carolina and Clemson.

Matthews will then set up his official visits for after the season, and three schools that are sure to receive visits are Georgia, South Carolina, and Clemson. The other two will be decided sometime during the course of the season.

Lastly, Matthews listed off four teams that have recently stepped into the picture for his services and that he would like to know more about. "I would like to check out Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Virginia Tech. My final two visits will come out of that group. Not many kids get this opportunity to be wanted by so many schools and great coaches, so I'm just going to weigh all of my options and go to each campus with an open mind. It's a clean slate now for everyone."

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