Texas A&M University Aggies
Missouri City, Texas
Fort Bend Elkins High School
While the Manning family is well-known for their success on the football field, the Matthews family has been a virtual "supply line" for standout players to perform in the National Football League. The Aggies offensive tackle is the next to carry on that tradition and is expected to be the fourth family member to be selected in the first round of the draft.
The NFL pipeline began with Jake's grandfather, Clay Matthews Sr., who played four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950. One of his sons, Clay Jr., was selected in the first round of the 1978 draft with the 12th pick by the Cleveland Browns and the linebacker went on to star in the NFL for 19 seasons, playing in 278 games.
Clay Sr.'s other son, Bruce, Jake's father, was an All-American offensive lineman who was also selected in the first round of the 1983 draft, taken with the ninth pick by the Houston Oilers. Bruce spent his entire 19-year career with the same team, moving with the Oilers to Tennessee, where he would later serve as an assistant coach. He was a 14-time Pro Bowl selection, the most in NFL history, a record shared with Merlin Olsen.
The next Matthews kin to hear his name called in the first round of the draft was Clay, Jr.'s son, Clay III, who was taken with the 29th pick of the 2009 draft by the Green Bay Packers, as he has gone to the Pro Bowl four times since first suiting up for the Pack. The next generation of Matthews relatives in the NFL include Clay III's younger brother, Casey, who is a linebacker playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jake's older brother, Kevin, was also an offensive lineman for Texas A&M. He was not drafted coming out of college in 2010, but suited up for both Tennessee and Washington the last three seasons. Back on the Aggies' campus is Kevin and Jake's younger brother, Mike, a sophomore who started on the same line as Jake at center last season.
Matthews, a two-time All-American and All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection has been the cornerstone of the Aggies' offensive line ever since he stepped into the starting lineup for the final seven games of his freshman season. The team would win 36 games during Matthews' time at College Station, and he would form one of the best bookend tackle tandems in college football from 2010 to 2012, as he was joined on the TAMU front wall by Luke Joeckel, who was the second overall selection in the 2013 draft by Jacksonville.
The Missouri City, Texas product was a consensus All-American selection at Elkins High School, where he also garnered first-team All-District and All-Greater Houston honors. He received a five-star prospect rating from Scout.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the best offensive guard in the nation.
Matthews' foot speed and balance can be traced back to his freshman days at Elkins High, when he performed as a quarterback before he outgrew the position, moving to center the following year. With his long arms and an additional weight gain of 25 pounds, the 280-pound junior found himself shifting to offensive guard, followed by a move to tackle.
Matthews proved to be one of the most athletic blockers in the high school ranks. His size and quickness allowed the Elkins coaches to utilize him all across the line during his final season. He excelled as a drive blocker and showed veteran-like skills using his good pad level, flexible knees and hips to explode out of his stance.
Recruiters were quick to recognize that Matthews not only had great family pedigree, but also possessed superior physical tools to actually contribute along the offensive line as a college freshman. When he first enrolled at Texas A&M, the coaches planned to plug him into whatever position was weakest when he arrived on campus initially, increasing the potential for early playing time.
When left offensive guard Evan Eike was lost for the season due to an injury, right tackle Brandon Thomas was shuttled to that position and Matthews took over right tackle chores for the final seven games of the 2010 campaign. The Aggies had allowed 23 quarterback sacks in the six games that Matthews was a reserve, but once he took over at right tackle, they yielded just 14 in those seven contests, as Matthews would earn Freshman All-Big Twelve Conference honors for his performance.
With Matthews and Joeckel dominating the action across the line in 2011, the Aggies, who allowed 37 sacks the previous season, boasted a front wall that would lead the Big Twelve Conference and rank fourth in the nation for fewest sacks allowed (nine). The right tackle delivered 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and 96 knockdowns for an offense that generated 6,373 yards, the seventh-highest figure in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.
Matthews and Joeckel both enjoyed All-American campaigns in 2012, blocking for a freshman quarterback (Johnny Manziel) who would earn Heisman Trophy honors. The offense was operating on "all eight cylinders" behind the stellar blocking upfront, as the Aggies unit set a season-record by amassing 7,261 yards, the best figure in the South-eastern Conference, TAMU's first year in the league. Matthews posted 21 touch-down-resulting blocks and 112 knockdowns, as the team led the SEC in both passing and rushing. In addition to manning the right tackle position, he also handled deep snapping duties for the Aggies.
Matthews seriously considered joining Joeckel in entering the 2013 NFL Draft, but later decided to return to school for his senior season. He would conclude his career by starting 46 consecutive games, but spent the final 13 contests replacing his former teammate at left tackle. His 91.42% grade was the second-higherst for any offensive lineman in the NCAA ranks during the '13 regular season schedule, as he delivered 116 knockdowns, along with 22 touchdown-resulting blocks, including 16 for a rushing attack. His ability to protect the pocket allowed Johnny Manziel and crew to rank seventh in the nation with 4,593 aerial yards and fourth in the FBS with 6,999 total yards.
Matthews appeared in 52 games for Texas A&M, starting his final 46 contests — the first 33 at right tackle and the final 13 on the left side…Collected 369 key blocks/knockdowns and recorded 65 touchdown-resulting blocks.