Rivals100 for 2007: No. 44 overall
Rivals.com weakside defensive ends: No. 3
Rivals.com South Carolina top 25: No. 5
One of the most dominant weakside defensive end prospects in the country is heading to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
Cheraw (S.C.) prospect Cliff Matthews has been named to the East squad for the game, which will be played at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 at Lockhart Stadium. The game will be televised live by ESPNU.
Rivals.com is the official selection partner for the game.
Five facts about Cliff Matthews
• Admires former president Theodore Roosevelt.
• Favorite sport is basketball, plans to play both sports in college.
• Wants to own his own business some day.
• Sports hero is Michael Jordan.
• Also enjoys playing video games, especially NBA 2K6.
"I feel good about (being selected)," Matthews said. "It felt like an honor to me to play in the game. I am excited about it."
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has enjoyed a big senior year with 24 sacks and more than 100 tackles. His stock has risen accordingly. He has climbed from No. 92 to the No. 44 overall prospect nationally and is the nation's third-ranked weakside defensive end.
"I'm always humble and I'm always hungry," Matthews said. "I've gotten better from experience. I've played in two state championships in football and lost. Also in basketball, I've played in two Lower State finals and lost. Because of that, I felt like I needed to work harder."
Matthews, who has 24 sacks this season, cites the various things that he's done to improve his football game.
"It's been a little bit of everything," he said. "Lifting weights, going to football and basketball camp, going all out."
Matthews, who has committed to the University of South Carolina, is one of several future Gamecocks on the East roster, joining offensive tackle Quintin Richardson of Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley, running back Brian Maddox of Anderson (S.C.) T.L. Hanna and fellow defensive end Travian Robertson of Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County.
"I feel good about playing with them," he said. "Representing the state is good."
Matthews is a two-sport standout and plans to play basketball for the Gamecocks as well.
He picked South Carolina after also seriously considering Georgia and Clemson earlier this season.