SDS’ top 25 players of 2012: No. 16 Jake Matthews

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SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to that sexy No. 1. We don’t just rank stats or project players at the next level based on athletic superiority, but we rank players based on the season they had in 2012. I know you’ll agree with every single one…

No. 16 – Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, OT

Why he’s worthy: Being the offspring of a former NFL offensive lineman who currently holds a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame is no easy task, and some truly never live up to the expectation living in their dad’s shadow. But Bruce Matthews’ son Jake has lived up to the hype…and then some.

While Johnny Manziel was running around doing his thing, carving up SEC defenses and turning them into a backyard playground, the Aggies’ offensive line was paving the way. It was arguably the best in the country and received little recognition. After all, the big uglies rarely get their due and are never the face of an offense or a program.

The 6-5, 305-pound right tackle was a key cog for the SEC’s top offense and has helped cement the Aggies’ top offensive line for the last three years. In fact, he will be the Cal Ripken of the SEC in ‘13 after making 33 consecutive starts that date back to his freshman season.

Matthews was considered largely as a first-round draft pick, but he spurned the NFL Draft to get a chance to play with his younger brother Mike, who should start at center next season. Jake will slide over from right tackle to left in an attempt to fill the massive shoes of Luke Joeckel, who will likely become the first pick in April’s Draft. Even though ‘13’s line will be Joeckel-less, getting Matthews back is like getting 1.5 players back, with his talent, experience and leadership.

Texas A&M could legitimately have back-to-back Outland Trophy winners and first picks in the NFL Draft. Matthews is that good.

The Countdown

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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