New Ground

Wide receiver Charles "C.J." Matthews of Solon, Oh. was one of seven official visitors to West Virginia's campus this weekend. He has returned home from his visit, and in this exclusive interview tells about his trip.

"It was my first trip there, and I liked the campus and the facilities," the soft-spoken wideout said. "Everything is really close together – I liked that too. And the people were very nice. Everything was good."

The visit went so well, in fact, that Matthews committed to WVU.

"Coach Rodriguez was over at my house last Wednesday, and he made me an offer then," Matthews related. "Then I came over for my official visit, and I made my commitment."

Matthews (5-10, 165 lbs., 4.4) was recruited by WVU spurs and bandits coach Bruce Tall, who covers that area of Ohio. The low-key Matthews made a good connection with Tall, who is similarly understated in many of his mannerisms.

"I liked Coach Tall a lot, and I get along well with him. The thing I like the most is that he is upfront with me," said the speedy pass catcher.

West Virginia got onto Matthews late in the recruiting process, but that wasn't a problem for him. Saying, "It was not a factor", Matthews showed that sometimes schools don't have to put two years into the recruiting process in order to land quality players. Matthews was not one of the higher-rated players in Ohio, but his steady productivity over his junior and senior years, and his serious minded approach to both football and academics, were enough to make the Mountaineer coaching staff believe it has found another diamond in the rough.

Matthews put up almost identical numbers during his junior and senior years. His junior campaign saw him record 25 catches for 400+ yards, while his senior numbers were 26 catches for 400 yards and eight touchdowns. He also added a kick return for a score, and will be a candidate to see duty in those roles as well as at slot receiver for WVU. He had interest from Virginia and North Carolina, and an offer from Bowling Green, but in the end decided on West Virginia after hearing talks from the coaches during his visit.

"It was really some of those speeches that [clinched it]," Matthews said of the reason he decided to commit. "They talked about the way they feel about playing the game, but they also talked about the importance of academics. All of those things are pretty much exactly how I feel, so it was a perfect fit for me.

Matthews plans to major in business, and like most visitors got to meet with an instructor from his area of interest. That session, as much as anything else, also played a part in his selection of West Virginia.

"We talked about the whole process of classes and the business school, and I liked that very well," said Matthews, who should have no trouble qualifying.

Although the Mountaineers entered the recruiting process very late, Matthews already knew a good bit about the program. He watched "every game" West Virginia played on television this year, and actually pictured himself playing in the WVU offense, even though the recruiting attention was not exactly high at the time. However, in a life imitating art moment, it worked out that West Virginia and Matthews are now part and parcel of one another.

With the commitment out of the way, Matthews will turn his attention to track during the final semester of his senior season. He runs sprints for Solon, competing in the 100- 200- and 400-meter dashes.

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