College Spotlight: Tuesday Afternoon Prospect

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Today we will take a look at a less heralded prospect.

How many of you can remember back to last March when it was reported that the Carolina Panthers held a private workout with Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib? Interestingly, Derek Anderson was signing a one year deal to stay with the Panthers right around the same time this workout occurred. This may have merely been a coincidence, but it does speak to the Panthers desire to keep the cupboards filled with competent options should our franchise quarterback sustain an injury or fail to meet the standards of our new general manager. With that being said, I expect Dave Gettleman to ramp up his efforts to find a more stable long term solution behind Cam Newton in the 2014 NFL Draft.

If you are among the majority of football fans who pay little attention to the 'lesser' prospects of the lower divisions of college football, then you may not be familiar with this week's Tuesday Afternoon Prospect. His name is Jeff Mathews, and I believe he would be a nice fit for the Panthers.

At 6-Foot-4, 229-Pounds, not only does Mathews have the physical attributes to please a size obsessed general manager like Gettleman, but he also possesses the type of arm strength that would make most NFL quarterbacks jealous. That's right. The guy who quite possibly has the strongest arm in all of college football attends Cornell University where only academic scholarships are handed out. Moreover, quarterbacks who can sling it as well as Mathews oftentimes lack the ability to execute touch passes, but this isn't the case with the California native. This is refreshing to see because a professional passer needs to display the ability to drop the ball in a bucket on occasion if they want to be considered an elite starting quarterback.

Additionally, this Ivy League standout can dissect defenses by making both pre-snap adjustments and multi-level post-snap reads. Coaches will tell you that Mathews also has an excellent grasp of route concepts and understands how to use his eyes deceptively to control the positioning of defensive backs. Perhaps his most valuable asset is his motivation to become better and his willingness to work overtime both on and off the field. By all accounts, he puts a ton of time into film study.

If Mathews were mobile and putting up prolific numbers in the SEC, then he might be considered the second coming of Newton himself. In reality, his stiffest competition has come from future surgeons, CEO's and psychologists. Even so, Mathews best football may very well be ahead of him if he is given the right opportunity. Moving forward, he will need to adjust to the speed of the professional game, but defenders will conversely have to acclimate to his quick release and the formidable velocity of his passes.

From my perspective, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Gettleman prudently selects a quarterback like Matthews in the fifth or sixth round in order to put a younger and cheaper option behind Newton.

What about you CSR? Be sure to tell everyone what you think in the poll and the comment section that follows.

Jeff Mathews Career Stats

Year Games Completions Attempts Comp % Yards Yrds/Att TD INT
2010 10 172 314 54.8 1,723 5.5 7 7
2011 10 250 368 67.9 3,412 9.3 25 11
2012 9 251 405 62.0 3,196 7.9 18 11
2013 6 155 241 64.3 2,086 8.7 16 8


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