With his junior college season complete, Octavius Matthews’ sights are now set on Auburn.
The 3-star athlete, who will likely play running back for the Tigers, finished his sophomore year at Itawamba C.C. (Miss.) as the team’s leading rusher. He averaged 71.7 yards per game despite dealing with a few different injuries.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound back brings a shiftiness out of the backfield and a special ability to catch passes, scoring 3 receiving touchdowns in 2016.
At 5-4, though, the Itawamba season got cut short. Now, Matthews wants to arrive in Auburn in January — if he can.
“I’m mainly focused on school and being able to get out in December. That’s the only thing,” Matthews said. “Coach (Tim) Horton, he texts every week, asking me how I’m doing, how my grades are and stuff like that. We mostly focus on my grades, so I can get out in December.”
Matthews took the junior college route following some academic concerns out of high school when he was a running back prospect from Stevenson, Ala. Auburn peeked at Matthews, but grade uncertainties sent him to the JUCO in Mississippi.
He doesn’t expect to have a problem being ready by next fall semester, but getting the early start in January is something high on Matthews’ wish list. This semester will determine his availability at Auburn throughout the spring.
According to Matthews, he’s in good position for the January start.
“I’m doing good right now. This semester is going to depend on if I get out in December or in May,” he said.
Matthews is very ready to be a Tiger, whenever it’s official.
He flipped from Louisville to Auburn in June following his visit and offer on Big Cat Weekend. The commitment to Auburn came shortly after for a running back product that — despite growing up an Alabama fan — said he always felt the Tigers and their staff were the right fit for him.
“My head coach in high school, he took me down there. He told me that was going to be the best fit for me,” Matthews said. “When I went on a visit there, they treated me like I was one of them already. That’s what stood out out to me most.”
Now, what’s standing out to Matthews about Auburn? The same thing standing out to everyone else: the running game.
With him playing Thursday night, Matthews has been tuned in and on the edge of his seat for every Auburn game this season. He’s been impressed by the turnaround from the early season losses, but he’s been even more pleased with how the Tigers are showcasing his future position group.
“When Kerryon Johnson got hurt at the end of the Mississippi State game, Pettway stepped up,” Matthews said. “Seeing Pettway and Kerryon Johnson get all those carries. That’s what I like the most. They run the ball a lot. That’s why running backs pick Auburn.”
Projection released Wednesday evening
We started off the college football season in September with the first Class of 2017 projection, and we’ve started off every month with another projection. The third edition was released last night in an SEC-wide effort to expand recruiting coverage on our site. Those projections are now something you’ll be able to get every month for all SEC teams.
But most of you are Auburn fans, so here are the September and October projections. You can check out the most-recent version here. If you haven’t already, give those a read and let me know what you think. Who isn’t on the list who you wish was, etc.?
Here are just a few things to think about regarding the projection:
- There were no flips away from Auburn, which is something I think the Tigers should feel pretty comfortable about right now. There are probably more likely cases than others, but this second-half performance this season has all the commits feeling good.
- Only 24 commits went into this projection. It could certainly be more than that. I has the potential to be less than that, though I’d be a little surprised if it was less than 24.
- The notable names left out: Markaviest Bryant, Monty Rice, LaBryan Ray, Henry Ruggs, Devon Hunter, D’Marcus Hayes, Nate McBride, De’Andre Wilder, Cesar Ruiz and Jarrett Stidham. They were all left off for various reasons. Tweet at me (@benjaminwolk) with any questions or comments.
We can discuss all of this, the KJ Britt commitment and what’s next on the Facebook Live chat at 7 p.m. ET.