Texas A&M's Mike Matthews continues family tradition

Texas A&M's Mike Matthews continues family tradition

July 30th, 2015 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Texas A&M center Mike Matthews raises his arm to celebrate along with Aggies quarterback Kyle Allen during the final stages of their 41-38 upset win at Auburn last November.

Photo by Brynn Anderson

"The Book of Manning" was released in September 2013 by ESPN Films, and it chronicles the lives of former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning and his three sons -- Cooper, Peyton and Eli -- who each signed football scholarships at Southeastern Conference schools.

Where is "The Book of Matthews"?

"They need to do that," Texas A&M senior center Mike Matthews said at SEC Media Days. "We've had some pretty good stuff going on."

Texas A&M

* Last season: 8-5 (3-5 SEC)

* Opener: Sept. 5 vs. Arizona State in Houston (7 p.m. on ESPN)

* Fun fact: The Aggies posted four consecutive 10-win seasons under R.C. Slocum from 1991 to ’94 but have just two since, going 11-3 under Slocum in 1998 and 11-2 under Kevin Sumlin in 2012.

Coming Friday

Vanderbilt

Matthews is the son of NFL Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews and is one of seven siblings, including five boys.

Older brother Kevin was Texas A&M's starting center in 2008 and '09, and he since has played for the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers. Older brother Jake was an All-America tackle for the Aggies, and he was selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and started throughout his rookie season.

Younger brother Luke is a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder who already has pledged to be a part of Texas A&M's 2018 signing class, so there would be multiple tales to tell about life in Missouri City, Texas. As well as the occasional tale to avoid.

"There was definitely a lot of fighting that went on, but my dad never let it get too out of hand," Matthews said. "With all that testosterone in that house with all those big boys, you can't stop it. Our backyard games always started out as two-hand touch, but the next thing you knew, people were getting laid out."

The latest Matthews producing for the Aggies is 6-2 and 290 pounds, which is slightly petite by family standards. He hasn't played tackle since middle school but instead has anchored Texas A&M's line the past two seasons, starting 23 games and missing three due to injury.

Texas A&M finished fifth in the SEC last season in scoring offense (35.2) and total offense (455.4), and fourth-year Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin is expecting better days ahead with the return of three starters up front. Redshirt junior tackle Germain Ifedi has 24 career starts and considered entering the 2015 draft.

"The SEC is not only a line of scrimmage league but a line of scrimmage and depth league," Sumlin said. "Our ability to recruit, retain and develop offensive linemen has really, really increased in the last couple of years, and hopefully we're going to see that pay dividends here over the next couple."

The Aggies, who went 11-2 in 2012 and demolished Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, have backtracked to 9-4 and 8-5 the past two seasons. They had a horrific three-game stretch last October, allowing a combined 142 points in losses to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama, so having eight starters returning on each side of the ball is especially welcome on defense.

Sophomore defensive end Myles Garrett set an SEC freshman record last year with 11.5 sacks, and the hiring of defensive coordinator John Chavis has produced plenty of excitement following his successful stints at Tennessee and LSU.

Texas A&M also has a new offensive line coach, Dave Christensen, who wants a more aggressive attack to complement the passing talents of sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen.

"It's exciting, and it's something you want to hear," Matthews said. "You want to be more physical. We run the spread offense and throw the ball a lot, and I think Coach Christensen is taking us in the right direction with having a strong running game and having that balance."

Matthews admits there was even some balance in his unique upbringing. Nearly every fight, he recalled, involved brothers in succession.

"The biggest bully was always the one directly older than you, so Jake was a bully to me and Kevin was a bully to Jake," Matthews said. "It just kind of went down the line."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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