Jake Matthews talks football, recruiting

Elkins High is home to one of the top junior offensive line prospects in the country. Offensive tackle Jake Matthews burst onto the scene as a sophomore as a 6-2, 245-pound right tackle and dominated in 2008 as a 6-4.5, 275-pound left tackle with great feet. On Thursday at Elkins, Matthews spoke with Burnt Orange Beat about his season and the recruiting process in front of him.

Offensive line prospects don't come much better than Fort Bend Elkins junior Jake Matthews. At 6-4.5, 275 pounds, Matthews plays the game with impeccable technique, quick feet, balance and agility of a player many years older. The son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews has not only impressed the head coaches of even Elkins' opponent, but many a college coach from coast to coast.

The talented junior said Thursday afternoon that he enjoyed a productive season, but is quick to talk about continued improvement.

"I think I had a really good season," said Matthews. "Just compared to myself last year, I improved a lot of my game. There is still a lot more that I think I can get better at and I'm just looking forward to get working again and preparing for next season,"

Matthews, who helped Elkins to a 6-2 record in 2008, says his best attribute is his technique with an understanding of the importance of footwork.

"Technique is probably one of my best attributes. Technique is really one of the major impact things that make an offensive lineman who he is. I'm just always working on footwork and trying to get better with technique," Matthews said.

The likely 23-5A first team all-district pick also says he enjoys the big hit, but plays the game with the realization that making the perfect block is better than blowing a defender up. Matthews says that is his strength as a player, while continually working to get stronger.

"I think I use really good technique and that is my strength. I focus a lot on my footwork and stuff. I like getting the big blow up hits, but just doing it correct and blocking somebody perfect is better than blowing somebody up. I'm trying to get to around 285 pounds next year. I'm trying to build up size and get stronger," Matthews said.

While the common thought is the junior grew up playing on the offensive line as a prodigy, that isn't the case. Matthews was taking snaps and making throws as a tall, skinny player until a growth spurt after his freshman year,.

"The last time I played offensive line was when I was eight years old for a little league football team. I was really tall, but skinny I guess. I played quarterback from when I was nine through ninth grade. I really wanted to play varsity as a sophomore. I could have been the JV quarterback because we already had a really good quarterback, so coach said the best way was to switch positions. My dad said why don't you check out offensive line, so I switched and actually started every game at right tackle. I picked up on it, liked it a lot and have played it every since. I love it," Matthews said.

With the season concluded, the recruiting process has taken center stage for the #3 junior in the state of Texas. While Matthews has offers from coast to coast, staying closer to home appears to be his focus early on.

"I'm interested in Texas A&M, maybe Texas and I'm going to check out LSU too. I'm just going to keep looking around, checking out my options and we'll see which one is the best fit. I have offers from Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oregon, Arkansas, Houston, Duke and I just received one from Oklahoma State," Matthews said.

Matthews took in his initial junior day last weekend at Texas A&M and has plans to check out others.

"I went to the A&M junior day this past weekend. I got to see Coach Sherman and the offensive line coach, Coach Turner. It was exciting. I'm going to maybe check out LSU (January 31) and then maybe Texas," Matthews said.

While there is not a timetable for a decision from the highly sought Houston area star, the likely national 100 prospect has an idea of what he is looking for in a college.

"Definitely somewhere I can receive a good education and maybe somewhere close to home. I'm not sure if I want to go that far. Just somewhere the football is good, I know there is a good coaching staff and a place I can succeed." Matthews said.

Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman was by Elkins today, while Texas offensive line coach Mac McWhorter was by two days ago.

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