March 11, 2012

Could yet another D.C. area QB lead the Herd?

Class of 2013 prospect Lamel Matthews would not mind following in the football footsteps of former Marshall star Byron Leftwich.

Like Leftwich, Matthews is a quarterback. The similarities do not end there, however. Both are from the inner-city area of Washington, D.C.

"He is like a role model and inspiration to me," Matthews said of Leftwich, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Matthews is not as big as the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Leftwich, but he is faster. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

Delaware, Georgia Tech, Marshall and Temple have offered scholarships to Matthews, a dual-threat quarterback who bench presses 265 pounds and squats 400 pounds.

The Thundering Herd is his early leader.
"I really like Marshall," said Matthews, who also is receiving recruiting interest from Kansas State, Maryland and Rutgers. "With Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich (among its alumni), I would put Marshall ahead of everybody right now. I like their offense, their prestige and their history."

Matthews wants to make his decision before his senior season at Dunbar High School.
"I want to commit on July 1," he said. "I want to get it out of the way and not have to worry about it."

Matthews plans to visit spring practices at Georgia Tech and Maryland as well as junior day at Delaware. He hopes to attend a summer camp at Marshall along with seven-on-seven tournaments at other schools.

Matthews participated in the Five-Star Showcase presented by Next Level Nation last month at the Landover Soccer Dome in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Rivals recruiting analyst Wayne Yarborough of offered the following evaluation: "Matthews has a great arm and can make almost any throw he's asked to. Like Dahlgren, he moves very well outside the pocket and can put the ball on a line when he's rolling out. Matthews has a great arm and shows that he can lead his receivers on deep posts and "nine" routes. In the pocket, he moves his feet well and seems rather poised. That said, Matthews sometimes struggles with picking up defenders and staying consistent with his mechanics."

Asked to provide his own evaluation of his skills, Matthews said: "I'm a good passer. I have a strong arm. I can read defenses good. I'm a dual-threat quarterback who can get out of the pocket and make plays. I need to work on my mechanics, my footwork and my accuracy. I just need to get more knowledge of the game. I have only been playing quarterback for five years. I started as a tight end in the sixth grade."

Matthews is an honor roll student who has a 3.2 grade point average. He has not taken the ACT or SAT, but he will take the latter in May.

"I take school seriously," he said. "The books come first."

Matthews also is on the track and field team at Dunbar, where he participates in the high, long and triple jumps. Another hobby is drawing.

However, his passion is cooking. He wants to major in culinary arts.

"My mama has taught me a lot," he said.
Asked what he would cook for the Chopped or Top Chef judges if given the opportunity, Matthews said: "I would probably fry them some chicken and make them some collard greens and macaroni and cheese. I would give them some soul food."

Jacob Messer is the managing editor for He can be reached by e-mail at All comments and feedback are welcome.

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