August 7, 2012

Matthews talks Auburn-UGA

When it comes to Georgia fans that follow recruiting, most, if not all, eyes are on Newnan safety Tray Matthews.

The Peach State playmaker was one of the first few players to commit in the 2013 class, and developed a reputation as a tireless recruiter for the Bulldogs.

Since that time, Matthews has been linked to Alabama, at one point, and now Auburn, due to his relationship with Auburn High School (Auburn, Ala.) linebacker and Auburn commitment Reuben Foster.

Last Saturday, the Rivals100 safety and his family took a trip to Auburn to spend the day with the Tiger coaching staff, and the visit definitely peaked the interest of the Matthews family.

"It was a real cool visit, and we all had a good time. It was the first time my dad or my mom had a chance to see anything except Georgia, and they liked Auburn a lot," he said. "My dad (Carlos Matthews) and Coach Trooper Taylor got along good because they are both silly dudes. When you get guys like that together, you know you are going to laugh a lot."

Matthews' mother, Sonya, also made the trip to Auburn, but she also wanted to let the Tiger staff know that she is still loyal to her home state team.

"Well, my mom wore a red dress on the trip if that tells you anything," laughed Matthews. "She kept telling the coaches 'you know what I am wearing red.' She was having fun with it, but she had a good time too. She loves Georgia just like I love Georgia. She wants me to stick to my decision to play at Georgia."

His father, however, saw many similarities between Georgia and Auburn.

Especially when it comes to the demeanor of the head coaches.

"My dad told me that being at Auburn was almost like being at Georgia. He said if he closed his eyes, he wouldn't be able to tell which coaching staff was in front of him," he said. "He said that Coach (Gene) Chizik and Coach (Mark) Richt are real similar guys. They are men of faith and they Auburn prays after practice just like Georgia. He loves Georgia too, but he sees Auburn as a similar school. He wants me to weigh the pros and cons of the visit and how it compares to Georgia. Stuff like that."

One similarity Matthews saw himself was in the depth charts of each school, and how the opportunity to play early exists in each program.

"They Auburn coaches were showing me how they had to move a corner over to safety because they need safeties," said Matthews. "That was pretty surprising for me. I know Georgia needs safeties too and the coaches have been telling me they want me to come in and play right away. As far as playing time goes, they are pretty much the same."

Despite having a good time on The Plains, Matthews says that his relationship and commitment with Georgia is exactly the same as has always been.

"I'm 100 percent committed to Georgia," said Matthews. "I had a good time and Auburn has me thinking about things, but I'm still committed to Georgia. I know the Georgia coaches so well because I have known them for so long, and I'm getting to know Auburn. The Georgia coaches know that I am taking some visits, and they are still recruiting me hard."

The visits that the four-star safety has taken this summer have lead some to question his commitment to Georgia.

Matthews, however, believes that he is doing something during the recruiting process that is perfectly normal.

"All I am doing is taking unofficial visits and seeing as much as I can. I am committed to Georgia and the other schools know that. When I was at Auburn, me and Reuben were just playing basketball and hanging out. It didn't even feel like I was on a visit or anything like that," said Matthews. "The recruiting process is something I will only get to do once, so I am just taking it in and enjoying it. I'm going to take my official visits to places like Florida, Tennessee, USC, and Miami. I'll visit schools that I normally wouldn't be able to see. Like I have seen UGA, Auburn, and Alabama a lot, so I want to see those other schools and just enjoy my time there."

Just last week, Matthews told UGASports that he was going to shut it down one way or the other in late August, but now he isn't so sure.

"I've been talking to my coaches and family and stuff and they want me to hold off," said Matthews. "They want me to give it some time and see what I want to do and take my official visits."

Now that school is starting back for most high schools in the state of Georgia, Matthews knows that recruiting will slow down a bit.

He is, however, looking forward to the start of the football season in Athens.

"I don't know if I'll get a chance to go up to a practice at Georgia, but I want to and may go to a couple," he said. "I know I'll be going to a bunch of games there and I'm definitely going to the Georgia/Auburn game."

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