Plenty of help is on the way for Tennessee football in the secondary thanks to the Vols’ 2023 recruiting class. Jordan Matthews, a four-star prospect out of Louisiana, will give the Vols an instant boost. Here are five things to know about the early enrollee.
Where Matthews ranks
Matthews is a four-star cornerback across the board. He measures out at 6-foot-1 and 184-pounds.
247Sports ranks Matthews as the No. 26 cornerback in his class, and the No. 10 prospect from Louisiana.
ON3 holds Matthews as the No. 25 cornerback and the No. 10 prospect from Louisiana.
Rivals has Matthews as the No. 16 cornerback in his class and the No. 16 prospect from Louisana.
Decision to choose Tennessee football
Matthews committed to the Vols in August. In-state LSU never stopped recruiting the cornerback, but he stayed firm in his commitment to Tennessee football.
Rocky Top extended Matthews a scholarship offer in May 2021. He chose the Vols over LSU, Texas, Georgia, and Texas A&M, among others.
The four-star prospect surprised many when he chose Tennessee over other finalist Texas. His commitment marked a huge win for Heupel and his staff.
Matthews doubles as a track star for Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge.
He was a top-five finisher in the Lousiana 5A as a junior, running a 10.66-second 100-meter dash and a 21.29-second 200-meter dash.
That speed translates to the field and can give the Vols an immediate impact.
Why Tennessee football?
The Vols had their work cut out for them in picking up Matthews over hometown LSU and nearby Texas.
Matthews saw Tennessee football beat LSU in Baton Rouge and Alabama in Neyland and hasn’t expressed any regret in his decision since.
“It’s confirming, again and again, I made the right decision,” Matthews told On3. “I’ve seen them three weekends in a row. I went to the Florida game and we got the W. I went to the LSU game and we got the W. Then it was ‘Bama — and it was overwhelming. I was overwhelmed with blessings and it confirmed again why I picked Tennessee. In August when I committed, everybody asked me ‘Why Tennessee? They’re an average team. Why not go somewhere else?’ They’re building something special over there and I wanted to be a part of it. It’s coming to fruition this year and it’s gonna be like this for years to come.”
Gabe Brooks of 247Sports projects Matthews to be a high-major corner.
“Unverified size but looks the part of a P5 corner to the naked eye,” Brooks writes. “Plays long with wiry strength. Physical tools and functional athleticism should provide for versatility across varying coverage types. Makes an effort to shrink the window and pester at the catch point…Displays corresponding recovery speed in the intermediate-to-deep passing game. Willing to mix it up on the perimeter vs. the run. Shows impressive closing speed and pursuit range. A bit reactive at times and can hone technique and awareness. Can improve ball skills and ball productivity in the form of turnovers. Excellent candidate to get on the field early on special teams with matching reps on block units. Eyeball test re: physical tools and verified athleticism on the track should provide plenty of developmental upside.”