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. 17 – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
2012 Stats: 94 catches for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns
Why he’s worthy: One of the biggest reasons – outside of James Franklin – that has helped lead to the Commodores’ two straight bowl berthing seasons has been wide receiver Jordan Matthews. The unanimous first-team All-SEC receiver set a Vanderbilt regular season record with 1,262 receiving yards. And he’s coming back for his senior year, after deciding to spurn the NFL to get his degree.
Matthews caught a nasty 94 passes for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns in ‘12. In fact, his 94 receptions came just three shy of the all-time SEC record of 97 for one season. While Tennessee’s two receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter received more ink and notoriety in 2012, Matthews quietly had 21 more catches than Hunter and 48 more catches than Patterson. So, it’s time we give this cat some respect. Other than Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton, Matthews was arguably the top receiver in the conference.
Matthews posted seven 100-yard receiving games against South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest. He averaged a gaudy 14.1 yards per catch and notched two games with 10 receptions.
Even after posting 94 catches as a junior, Matthews returns to Vanderbilt for his senior season, deciding to go against the record haul of underclassmen in this year’s NFL Draft. He returns alongside Chris Boyd to give the Commodores arguably the best one-two duo of receivers for any team in the SEC.
Matthews already enters ‘13 as Vanderbilt’s greatest wide receiver, so what will he do for an encore?
Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports