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Clay Matthews III

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Nick Sherwood

on 26 May 2011

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Transcript of Clay Matthews III

William Clay Matthews III Early years Matthews attended Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California. Physically, Matthews was a late bloomer. His father was the team's defensive coordinator, but declined to start his son because he was physically undersized. Matthews began developing physically in his senior season, but only garnered interest from Division I FCS schools and local community colleges. He has described his own recruiting status out of high school as "not applicable." College career Like his father and uncle, Matthews opted to attend the University of Southern California with hopes of becoming a walk-on for the Trojans football team Matthews played for the USC Trojans football team (2005-2008 seasons; 2004 redshirt) under head coach Pete Carroll and Linebacker Coach Ken Norton Jr. During his first season, USC's 2004 National Championship season, he played only on the scout team and turned down several playing opportunities during garbage time during the fourth quarters of games in order to preserve his redshirt status and remaining seasons of NCAA eligibility. He remained a non-athletic scholarship (a "walk on"), reserve linebacker during the 2005 season, and played mainly on special teams. He was granted full athletic scholarship status at the beginning of the 2006 season. Matthews continued to play reserve linebacker in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, and made two starts in 2007 in place of injured teammate Brian Cushing. He was awarded USC's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and blocked two field goals in the latter season. The experiment was successful, as Matthews recorded 4.5 sacks while playing alongside his other NFL-bound teammates Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Kaluka Maiava. Furthermore, Matthews continued his spectacular special teams play and was awarded USC's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2008, making him the only player in USC history to be awarded three consecutive Special Teams Player of the Year awards. Matthews was a participant in the 2009 Senior Bowl and was considered a top prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft. During the off-season, Matthews committed to weight training and conditioning programs to gain size and improve his performance level and stamina. At the beginning of the 2008 season, defensive coordinator Nick Holt, Carroll and Norton decided to try using Matthews in a hybrid "Elephant" position, where Matthews would stand in the position of defensive end, but use the speed and tactics of a linebacker; the coaches had used Cushing in the position in a similar manner in 2006. Matthews was one of twelve senior USC football players, including the four linebackers Cushing, Maiava, Matthews and Maualuga, attending the by-invitation-only 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. Matthews, alongside fellow USC linebackers Maualuga and Kushing, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2009 NFL Draft Preview magazine, as all three were regarded as potential first round selections. Matthews was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, with the 26th overall pick (Acquired from a trade with the New England Patriots), by the Green Bay Packers. NFL Career He scored his first career touchdown during a Monday Night Football game against the Minnesota Vikings; Matthews stripped the ball from running back Adrian Peterson and ran the ball back for a score. In week 17 against the Detroit Lions, he made 3 tackles, assisted on 2 more and sacked Daunte Culpepper twice. He was nominated for and won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award for his performance. In week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys Clay had another outstanding game: recording 1 tackle, recovering 2 fumbles forced by cornerback Charles Woodson, and sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo to make him a nominee again for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. For the 2nd time in as many nominations was voted Rookie of the Week for week 10. In the Packers December 13, 2009 contest vs the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Matthews recorded his eighth sack of the season which put him into a three way tie with former Packers Tim Harris and Vonnie Holiday for the team record of most sacks in a rookie season (1982–Present). He was added to the 2009 NFC Pro Bowl squad, replacing Bears LB Lance Briggs. He is the first Packers rookie to earn a Pro Bowl selection since receiver James Lofton in 1978. After recording 13.5 sacks through 15 games in 2010, Matthews was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl NFC roster, his second consecutive selection in two years of play. He finished a close second (17 votes to 15) to Troy Polamalu in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting, notable in that both led their defenses to Super Bowl XLV. In that game won by the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had 3 tackles, including a forced fumble. In the first play of the 4th quarter with the Steelers driving to take the lead with the score 21-17 in favor of Green Bay and the ball on the Packer 33 yard line, he tackled Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who fumbled the ball, recovered by inside linebacker Desmond Bishop. The Packers never lost the lead, winning their 4th Super Bowl title and first since Super Bowl XXXI (1996 season) . Clay Matthews and Aaron Rogers after winning Super Bowl XLV Matthews comes from a football family. Matthews' father, Clay Matthews, Jr., played the third most games in NFL history (278) over 19 seasons as a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons while earning 4 Pro Bowl selections. Matthews' uncle, Bruce Matthews, played as an offensive lineman for 19 years in the National Football League for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise after being drafted out of USC in 1983. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, playing in an NFL-record 14 consecutive Pro Bowls. Both brothers were All-Americans. His grandfather, Clay Matthews, Sr., played 4 seasons in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950s. Of the four sons of Clay Matthews, Jr., he is the second to play for USC. His younger brother Casey Matthews plays linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, following a prosperous collegiate run with the University of Oregon Ducks. His cousin, Kevin, is a center for the Tennessee Titans. His Nephew Jordan Russell Myers plays at Manheim Central. Clay Mattews Sr., Jr., and III Casey Matthews Family
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