120 Players You Need To
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
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.
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
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
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.
2007: 18 tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack
tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and two sacks
Statistics, information provided by the
Oregon sports information department