Commentary

Tight end Matthews stands tall on the field

Originally Published: April 18, 2008
By Craig Haubert | Scouts Inc.

Barrett Matthews, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds
ESPN 150 Watch List tight end
North Shore High School (Houston)

One of the better kept secrets in the world of recruiting outside of the state Texas is tight end Barrett Matthews.

A well-rounded player at the position, he can block with the best of them and doubles as a dangerous weapon in the receiving game. At 225 pounds, he possesses excellent speed and can stretch the field.

Like many running backs, wide receivers and cornerbacks, Matthews also runs track. He participates in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and is a member of his school's 4-by-100 meter relay team. He moves well for his size and surprises opponents with his ability on the field and the track.

"[Opponents will] say you're a big kid to be running this race," Matthews said.

It does not take long for him to earn opponents' respect, though. He started running track for fun and to help with football, but Matthews takes pride in lining up and beating, as he puts it, "the more skinny guys (sic)."

He is a competitive kid, evidenced watching him drive block opponents into the sideline, but his mental approach to the game isn't about anger or respect.

"If the player in front of me is working to try and beat me than why not try and beat him," he said. "If he beats me I will be on his highlight tape and if I beat him he will be on mine -- and I rather he be on mine."

The Texas commit had only an offer from Houston when the Longhorns offered. It did not take him long to decide Austin was the place for him, but the lack of national interest makes you wonder if he was receiving negative feedback about his height. At 6-foot-2, Matthews lacks the ideal size for the tight end position -- especially today with more and more top tight end prospects reaching that 6-foot-5 range. The lack of height didn't scare off Texas nor does it bother Matthews.

"Coach (Mack) Brown had coached smaller tight ends before like Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife who are also like 6-foot-2, so there was no negative feedback from them."

Matthews is happy in his choice and is focused on doing his best in everything he does. In addition to his prowess on the field and track, Matthews is outstanding in the classroom. With a 3.4 GPA, he knows he needs to do well in the school to be able to play. Like gridiron success, excelling in the classroom takes discipline.

While his height may keep some attention off of him, Matthews doesn't need the spotlight to succeed. He keeps a low-key attitude that accompanies his mantra: "stay humble."

Matthews' Scouts Inc. Evaluation

Matthews is an exciting prospect who has the tools to be a well-rounded college tight end. He has good size and appears to be well-built. May lack ideal height but has been big enough to get the job done.

He's a sound and tenacious blocker. Takes good steps out of his stance and can play with leverage. Makes good initial contact and rolls his hips to generate power from his lower body. Gets good hand placement and can be tough to beat when he locks on. Needs to work on keeping his hands inside, but he's productive, feisty and sound overall. Has the tools to be a good in-line blocker.

Can be a weapon as a receiver. Has good straight-line speed and appears to accelerate fairly quickly for his size. Has the burst to run down the seam and pose a vertical threat when he gets a clean release. Has good hands and consistently shows the ability to pluck the ball and catch away from his body. He's a fairly savvy route runner for a tight end. Can separate out of breaks from linebackers and find soft spots against zone coverage. He's physical and can battle for position and use his frame to shield defenders from the ball. Shows good concentration in traffic and can track the ball to make the over-the-shoulder grab. Flashes enough of a second gear to make things interesting if he can catch in stride and gain a step. He's physical and tough to bring down after the catch. Didn't field many balls as a junior, so he needs to prove he can be a consistent target.

Matthews has all the physical tools to stay on the field in all situations and be a factor at the college level.

Craig Haubert is recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. Drop Craig a line in his mailbag.

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