Cougs offer California DL

DEFENSIVE SUCCESS is made the easier when predicated on speed up front. A defensive lineman out of Elk Grove, Calif., has caught the eye of the Cougs -- as well as a number of other schools. His prep coach says he possesses all the attributes of a big time performer at the next level -- speed, quickness, a sure-tackler and a great motor among them. He also has the wingspan of a jet airplane.

The tapes on DeShon Matthews were sent out not long ago and schools have come running.

Matthews already holds offers from Washington State, Arizona and Nebraska with additional scholarship offers likely imminent. Other schools who this week have called Laguna Creek High head man Lewis Lassetter include Penn State, Texas and Oregon.

UCLA, Washington and Oregon State are all showing considerable. It was reported elsewhere Oregon State has offered Matthews but that's not the case, although the Beavs' interest remains very high. The report also stated Washington State was the first to offer but it was actually Arizona who was Matthews' first offer approximately 6 weeks ago. The Wildcats were followed by the Cougars, and then the Cornhuskers followed suit.

Wherever Matthews ends up, he's looking to join a program that has good teachers coaching the defensive line.

"I want somebody that can teach me something new every day," said Matthews.

The first team all Delta-league selection said he does not have a frontrunner nor any leaders at this time -- noting that climate, location, the state and strength of the football program plus what a school has to offer academically will all factor into his decision.

"He's very versatile and he's athletic," said Lassetter. "We can play him at the weakside end and we can play him at the strongside end. At the high school level, we can even put him inside on occasion."

While most schools are looking at Matthews at defensive end, some are considering the damage he could do from the inside. He has a frame with room to grow, and the considerable speed and quickness he'd bring from the inside is an attractive notion. Matthews currently checks in at 6-5 and 254-pounds.

But the first thing that jumps out at you are his arms, said Lassetter. They go on forever.

"When you look at him, he has the arm span of a 747," he said.

WITH THE LONG REACH and quickness, opponents had a hard time making the corner against Matthews his junior year. In 2004, he racked up 80 tackles (29 solo), 14 tackles-for-loss including 6 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He also blocked a punt and just missed on two others.

"He definitely changed the angle of those," said Lassetter of the near blocks.

He also noted flying to the football and finishing is emphasized at Laguna Creek, so assist numbers are high across the board on the Cardinals' roster. It also speaks to how opponents in the rugged Delta League tried to run away from the standout defensive end his junior year.

Matthews attended Southern Cal's junior day last weekend and plans on going to others but his schedule isn't finalized at this time. The other thing to keep in mind about Matthews -- He's only played three years of tackle football and has likely just scratched the surface on his potential.

"He has a huge upside," said Lassetter.

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