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April 28, 2006

Matthews busy on the track

Cheraw (S.C.) defensive end Cliff Matthews had planned to attend the NIKE Camp in Athens, Ga., this weekend, but other obligations will prevent that from happening.

"I was all set to go to the NIKE Camp this weekend, but I have the lower state finals in track this Saturday, so I can't go," the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Matthews said. "I'm competing in the high jump, the shot put and the discus. My best in the high jump is 6-foot-4, the best I've done in the shot put is 56 feet and the discus is 135 feet. I should qualify for the state finals in all three, too."

Matthews, who also plays tight end at the high school level, is currently focused on five teams.

"USC, Georgia, Clemson, Florida and Auburn," he said. "All five of them have offered me, and so have others like North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech."

Matthews, who racked up 66 tackles, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions on defense, and grabbed 17 balls for 210 yards and four touchdowns on offense, likes what the Gamecocks have to offer.

"I'm more familiar with USC and everything around the school because I've been there so many times because it's closer to home," he said. "I'm in that area a lot. I like my recruiter, Coach (David) Reaves, and their defensive line coach, Coach (Brad) Lawing."

Matthews also finds aspects of Georgia and Clemson appealing.

"Georgia sends a lot of players into the NFL. I also met their defensive line coach, Jon Fabris while I was there for a visit, and he seems like a good coach. I went to Clemson about two or three weeks ago, and Coach (Dabo) Swinney and some of their other coaches showed me around. It was pretty good."

While Auburn and Florida round out his top five, they trail the other two teams.

"I just don't know as much about them yet. I know they have good teams and everything, but that's about it right now."

Three teams currently stand out to Matthews.

"USC, Georgia and Clemson, and that's in order. Those are my top three, but I really have no idea when I'll commit. I'm just taking everything as it comes."

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