Former North Jackson running back Octavius Matthews commits to Auburn

Former North Jackson running back Octavius Matthews commits to Auburn

June 7th, 2016 by Stephen Hargis in Sports - College
Octavius Matthews - RBack Outside LB - North Jackson Best of Preps football players | Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

Octavius Matthews - RBack Outside LB - North...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

It didn't take Octavius Matthews long to realize where his future lay. The former North Jackson High School football star flipped his commitment from Louisville to Auburn after a visit to Big Cat Weekend and afterward made it clear the recruiting process now is over for him.

"This is my final decision," Matthews told "War Eagle."

Rated the nation's No. 1 junior college running back and the No. 15 overall juco prospect, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Matthews had committed to Louisville in April but said he felt more at home during his visit to Auburn.

In 2015 at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., Matthews ran for 808 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. After one more season of junior college, he plans to enroll at Auburn in January.

North Jackson coach Mark Rose drove to Mississippi to pick up Matthews, then took him to Auburn for his visit. Rose, who played defensive line at Auburn in the early 1990s, said Matthews is one of the best stories he's seen in his coaching career.

"We have a relationship that's a lot closer to a father-son deal than anything, and I just told him to talk to his mama and decide what's best for him," Rose said. "As soon as he got home and spoke to his mother, he immediately called (Auburn coach Gus) Malzahn and committed.

"It's a great situation for him, and I'm just really proud of how hard he's worked to get here."

After rushing for just 408 total yards in his first three varsity seasons at North Jackson, Matthews had a breakout senior season in 2014, Rose's first year back with the program. He rushed for a school-record 1,752 yards and averaged a staggering 11.2 yards per carry.

He left with every school rushing record for a season and a career, including one game in which he ran for 309 yards on only nine carries and scored six touchdowns, all in the first half.

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.