120 Players To Know - Oregon's Casey Matthews
Photo by Chris Wilson
Posted Apr 9, 2009

Who are the players you need to know about? Maybe they've been under the radar, or maybe they're the future NFL stars who'll be a really big deal next April. Get to know the stars of 2009 as CFN profiles 120 Players You Need To Know over 120 days (one for each team) continuing with Oregon LB Casey Matthews.

120 Players You Need To Know

Oregon LB Casey Matthews

By Richard Cirminiello

Who is Casey Matthews? … The fifth of five children, he’s the newest member of the Matthews clan to be making plays in the Pac-10 and laying the foundation for a possible career in the NFL. After getting a taste of action as a true freshman, he became an important part of Nick Aliotti’s defense a year ago, breaking into the lineup and finishing third on the team with 13 stops behind the line. With DE Nick Reed and defensive backs Patrick Chung and Jairus Byrd now gone, he’ll be asked to play an even larger role in the upcoming season. Matthews’ pedigree is obvious to everyone who watches his film. Well-coached and rarely out of position, he consistently puts himself in the best possible place to make stops. When you combine those intangibles with good speed and athleticism, the Oregon defense has a young linebacker who’s ready to make a strong push up the Pac-10 pecking order in 2009.    

Casey Matthews’s best game so far was … last Oct. 4 versus USC. Matthews grew up watching USC and understanding the connection with his family, so his first game at the Coliseum had a little extra special meaning. He also played real well with his older brother on the other sideline and his family in attendance, making eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack.

Why you should care about Matthews? … His best football is ahead of him. In general, the Matthews men tend to reach their physical peak late, and Casey is no exception. He’s just now beginning to blossom physically, which bodes well for his final two years in Eugene. After playing regularly as a true freshman and really taking flight as a sophomore, he could finish his junior year with All-Pac-10 recognition.

Positives about Matthews … At 6-2 and 235 pounds, Matthews has decent size to go along with his great athleticism, but his greatest attribute has no measurement. He’s a naturally instinctive player, who can get to the right spot as fast as any Duck on the roster. Fundamentally sound, he diagnoses plays well and has a knack for filling the proper lane, a couple of keys to being a successful inside linebacker.    

Negatives about Matthews … More than anything else, Matthews hopes to improve his top-end speed and get a little stronger over the next two seasons. Although he’s headed in the right direction, he still needs to add a few more pounds of muscle in order to handle the rigors of being an every-down player in the Pac-10.

A cool thing about Casey Matthews you probably didn’t know … He comes from a long line of successful athletes, including a grandfather (Clay), father (Clay), uncle (Bruce), and brother (Clay), who’ve either played in the pros, or, in the case of his brother, is about begin a career in the NFL.

Career Statistics
2007: 18 tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack
2008: 67 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and two sacks

Statistics, information provided by the Oregon sports information department