Tennessee landed the commitment of 2023 cornerback Rickey Gibson on Sunday afternoon, and they double-dipped at the position by pulling elite cornerback Jordan Matthews out of the state of Louisiana moments ago. We take a look at what Matthews brings to Rocky Top.
This recruitment has been interesting, and had it of unfolded any other way, it likely would not have ended with the Vols on top. Matthews looked ready to make decisions a couple of other times, but he pushed it on and Tennessee pushed the gas pedal even harder. Alabama , Clemson and Stanford offered in the Spring and shook things up even more, but after taking official visits, Matthews focused in on Tennessee-Texas. His official visit to Knoxville in late June was key for the Vols as they showed well enough to beat out multiple stops at Texas.
It feels redundant saying this at times, but it is a fact, that Matthews is another long, athletic cornerback with a load of untapped potential. He is not quite as physical as his counterparts, Rickey Gibson and Cristian Conyer, but he displays excellent ball skills, fluidity in the hips, and the ability to disrupt with his naturally long frame. Matthews is sticky in coverage and excels in off-man situations. He has plenty of room to grow, but he could play multiple positions in the secondary at Tennessee.
This is another big-time win for Tennessee. Matthews is rated as Sports Illustrated's No.95 overall cornerback, and the Vols went into a state that is virtually impregnable to pull an elite prospect in a huge recruiting coup. This solidifies Tennessee's current secondary class, as one of, if not the best in America. Granted, the Vols have to carry all of these to the finish line, still it is impressive nonetheless. Willie Martinez has been lights out over the last three months, and his hot-streak continues. Now, he can focus on keeping the current guys he has locked in, while also having the ability to look ahead to the 2024.