Matthews is the fourth member of his family to attend USC. His father, Clay, played linebacker; his brother, Kyle, played safety and was a member of the 2003 National Championship team; and his cousin, Ashley, played soccer and was part of the 2007 National Championship team.
Matthews started as a walk-on at USC and used his impeccable work ethic to earn a scholarship. He is now in position to enter the draft and play in the NFL.
LB Clay Matthews
Matthews earned All PAC-10 honors and is strong, versatile and instinctive. He has decent speed and a non-stop motor and makes impact plays no matter where he is playing. A smart player, he would fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense and also plays a vital role on special teams. He believes he has the talent to make it in the NFL.
"I am a great athlete, a hard worker, and I will come in each day and bring intensity. I will be a reliable player who's going to make plays and be there every day," he said.
Matthews was overshadowed most of his career by fellow linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, but really came into his own during the 2008 season, increasing his draft stock exponentially.
"For me personally, I just want to get out here and show the coaches what I'm able to do, and that's just working hard and getting after it each day," he said.
Matthews lacks starting experience, but has shown he is willing to work to earn his role on the team.
In 2008 he played 13 games and racked up 56 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and two passes broken up. Those statistics are more than half of those from his career, as he had 96 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and four passes broken up while at USC.
Matthews is of interest to the Chargers because they are looking to bolster their outside linebacker corps. Marques Harris is expected to leave as an unrestricted free agent, while Jyles Tucker underwhelmed last season.
Matthews obviously caught the Chargers attention in Mobile, as evidenced by his meeting with the team. That's a big deal for a player who was a late bloomer in college; thanks to the Senior Bowl, he's finally ahead of the curve.
"It feels great, especially because this is an introduction to the next level. Yo be able to get a head-start ahead of other players, I think will help us along in the process."