Teddy Matthews, a RS Junior from West Palm Beach, FL, is another part of this experienced Linebacker core that has many people believing it could be one of the ACC’s best this season. Being a part of such a talented group is an accomplishment and a lot of attention will be on the Deacon LB’s coming into the season.
It also comes with fierce competition simply to get on the field. With Marquel Lee, Hunter Williams, and Brandon Chubb all having the starting spots locked up, and young guns Zack Wary and Jaboree Williams looking to make an impression as well, it’s interesting to think about where a guy like Teddy Matthews would fit in for the 2015 season.
The most sensible prediction is as a frequent contributor on Special Teams who can make appearances on the defensive side of the ball whenever he is needed. In 2014, Matthews started the first season in the Clawson era as strictly a Special Teams player, not even making an appearance at LB until the FSU game in Week 6. He then suffered an injury and was forced to sit out against Syracuse and BC before embracing an enhanced role on the team and earning significant time at LB for 3 of the final 4 games of the year.
In fact, 57% of all his snaps played came in those final 4 games, with 34 in the loss to NC State being his season high. At the end of his Redshirt sophomore season, Matthews had 4 total tackles in 10 games played; a slight decrease in production from his 20 total tackles in 2013.
As we head into the new year, I expect Mathews’ role on the squad to be more a less the same from 2014. The presence of Lee, Chubb, and Williams means it will be hard for the Palm Beach native to ever really break into the starting lineup, and Zack Wary, Jaboree Williams, and Grant Dawson all showing great signs of growth won’t make getting regular playing time any easier either.
I see Matthews as mainly a Special Teams player this season, but with Clawson entrusting in him more and more at LB late in 2014, don’t be surprised if you see him get a few runs at LB in each game this year too.