In the last four years, no South Carolina football player started more games than Cliff Matthews. The defensive end from Cheraw started 47 games, amassing 149 tackles, 15.5 sacks and 26 tackles-for-loss, but Matthews is moving on to the next stage of his career – the NFL. Matthews will provide The State with a diary of his experiences between now and April 28, when the NFL Draft begins in New York.
In this week’s diary, Matthews talks about his thoughts from the days he watched the team’s spring practice and who he thinks will make the most defensive impact in 2011.
I signed about a million autographs. There were a good number of us there.
I thought that spring practice looked good to be honest with you. They looked better than we were last year. I take it kind of hard that I wasn’t out there with them. They looked good. I wish that I could be out there with some of the younger guys teaching them a few things. I wouldn’t say that there is one particular thing in general that you look for in spring practice. It’s just everything in general.
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I thought Vic Hampton had a pretty productive spring. I think of all the people, he really came a long way to make a name for himself.
As for next year, the guys I think could have a big impact, if Jadeveon Clowney comes and does what he is supposed to, he’ll be one of the guys. Personally, I don’t know him that well, but from the few times I have met him, he’s a bright kid, has a great head on his shoulders. As a player, enough said. I played as a true freshman at linebacker. All it takes is determination. All it takes is want to, if he has that, he’ll be fine. He’s got to crawl before he walks, take care of his business and he’ll be fine.
With the veterans, (Stephon) Gilmore is back. Of course, Devin Taylor. We’ve got a lot of players who are going to make some noise in the SEC. D.J. Swearinger, DeVonte Holloman, we’ve got a lot of names out there.