Five-star wide receiver Mike Matthews, the 13th-ranked in the country and the No. 4 receiver at 247Sports Composite, commits to Tennessee on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Matthews is Tennessee’s first five-star player of the 2024 class, but he’s the 12th Blue and second-ranked player in the top 100, joining four-star quarterback Jake Merkelinger.
- A native of Lilburn, Ga. Matthews chose Falls over Georgia State as well as Clemson and USC. He made state visits to all four schools in June, with Tennessee the last.
- Auburn offered him both football and basketball.
- Thanks to his commitment, Tennessee is now ranked No. 11 in the country.
the athleteInstant Analysis:
What does this mean for Tennessee?
It’s been a great 2022 season — especially from an offensive standpoint — for the Vols and clearly resonating with their senior recruits. Grabbing Matthews from Georgia, where his high school is just 50 miles from Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs, is a statement for a Tennessee team that went 11-2 last season and finished sixth in a recent AP poll.
The idea of quarterback Niko Iamaliva, a 2022 freshman who was a former five-star recruit, dropping the Dimes to Matthews should be exciting for any Tennessee fan as Josh Hoebel looks to build on the foundation he laid in his first two seasons. If Tennessee is going to continue to compete with the big guys in the SEC, it will start with recruits like Matthews, who said in February that he communicates constantly with both Hubble and receivers coach Kelsey Pope. Matthews also visited Tennessee for a freshman day in January and then again for a casual visit in April, saying in February that he wanted to use the April visit to see how Foles ran drills, as well as how he fit into the school’s flow.
We’ll see how his run turns out, but this is another great victory for Tennessee after touchdown Emaleva in the last turn.
what are they saying
Joe Sturdivant is hired at Parkview — his high school and Matthews — in the spring. He had been loosely keeping up with the Panthers from afar but didn’t need much time to figure out what he had in Matthews once he saw his new wide receiver up close.
“I knew I was inheriting a very talented team with elite players, but now that I’ve seen those guys in person, he’s every bit of every rating and all the stuff he’s got, he’s definitely all that and a great kid at the same time,” Sturdivant said.
“A lot of receivers are really good when the ball is in front of them and they’re able to catch it with their thumb or if it’s right over their head, they catch it with their pinky. Mike is very good at catching a football and all that, but he can also catch any of it. You can throw it anywhere. You can draw a circle around him the size of an elephant and he can catch that football. But he does it so naturally, which makes it really fun if you’re the quarterback. You can’t really miss it. You just have to put it in his area.”
(Photo: George Walker IV/USA Today)
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