“Freshmen are supposed to be seen and not heard.”
Don’t tell that to Georgia early enrollee and safety Tray Matthews. Matthews didn’t sign with Georgia to redshirt or just be a high-fiver even as a freshman; he went to Georgia on a mission to earn a starting job in the Bulldogs’ secondary.
And so far, he’s one of the most impressive early enrollees.
Malcolm Mitchell was recently asked to name some little-known players who are making an impression during spring practice. His second favorite is Tray Matthews, via the Macon Telegraph.
“Tray looks really good,” Mitchell said. “I think he could (start). Not taking away from anybody else, because anybody else could start as well. I’m not saying who’s gonna be the starter, but he definitely could start because he definitely has athletic ability, and the physicality to play safety. I think he’s a good player. I don’t know how good he is as far as the coverages or anything, but that just comes with time. When everything’s put in, then you’ll know.”
Mitchell can attest to the raw athleticism talk that preceded Matthews coming to Georgia.
And Matthews had another strong performance in Georgia’s scrimmage Tuesday and continues to impress Mark Richt, via the Macon Telegraph.
“He made two early tackles that I thought were very outstanding, runs that I thought looked like they might have broke a little longer, but he aggressively came and made a couple nice open-field tackles,” Richt said. “It was Marshall, and he did a good job of wrapping him up in the open field a couple times.”
Matthews has been compared to former star linebacker Alec Ogletree, because of his size, speed and overall athleticism. Like Ogletree, Matthews enters as a safety, but unlike Tree, he likely won’t outgrow the secondary.
Now that the Bulldogs are secondary-less Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo, Matthews has a starting job within his grasp, and being an early enrollee, he has a leg up on any competition.
Tight end Arthur Lynch compares Matthews to Williams, because he isn’t afraid to hit anyone at anytime.
“He hits everything even when we’re not supposed to be hitting,” tight end Arthur Lynch said. “He’s just a physical kid, and he doesn’t talk much. He loves to compete. He kind of reminds me of Shawn Williams, but even more explosive. And Shawn was a pretty heavy hitter.
“For (Tray), his ability as an 18-year-old to make plays against SEC veterans is pretty impressive.”
Matthews has been working mostly with the first team this spring at safety.
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