At the recent NIKE 7 on 7 Passing Championship, not only did Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian have the top offensive performer in the event in quarterback Jimmy Clausen, but the top defensive player as well in linebacker Casey Matthews.
We saw Matthews a year ago at the same tournament and have also seen plenty of film on him. Physically, he looks like a different player. The 'backer has really dedicated himself to the weight room, along with several other Oaks players, and he looks considerably bigger and stronger than a year ago.
At a very solid 6-2, 220 pounds, Matthews looks the part and had a great tournament as well. Without seeing any official stats, the 'backer had to have led the tourney in interceptions and is one of those players that always seems to be around the ball. He has incredible football instincts and with his father (Clay) being a former college All-American at USC and NFL standout, it's easy to see why.
Whenever the defense needed someone to step up and make a play, Matthews was the guy to do it. Whether it was picking off a pass, batting a ball down or generally disrupting the offense and shutting down every thing in the flat or underneath, the athlete showed he's easily one of the elite 'backers in the region this year.
On the recruiting front, it seems everyone has been expecting a commitment from Matthews to Oregon any day now. We talked briefly to the athlete who said he still has a few trips to take before announcing anything.
"I'm going to check out Oregon and Cal next week or the week after," Matthews said. "I like those two plus Georgia Tech and I'm still hoping to decide before the summer is over. Those are the main ones I'm looking at right now and when I'm 100% sure of my decision, that's when I'll go ahead and commit somewhere."
At this point, it would still be a minor surprise if Matthews ends up anywhere other than Oregon and he'll likely be ready to make his decision by early August.