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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Dawgs Snapshot 2013: Tray Matthews

By Radi Nabulsi

To gear up for 2013 national signing day, DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi is breaking down every commitment in the Bulldogs' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Safety Tray Matthews, Newnan, Ga./Newnan | 6-foot, 194 pounds

Committed: Aug. 8, 2011 grade: 84. Four-star prospect. rankings: No. 122 in ESPN 300, No. 10 safety, No. 54 in Southeast region, No. 11 in Georgia

Picked Georgia over: Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Michigan and others.

State of the position: Georgia will lose All-American Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams to the NFL this year and the position was thin to begin with. Backing up the two starters are Corey Moore, Marc Deas and Connor Norman. Those three have made strides on special teams but have yet to push for starting positions. The Bulldogs are trying to bring in five safeties in the class of 2103, but two are junior college transfers that will only have two years to play.

Pros: “He has a nose for the ball and a ball-hawk feel to his game. Quick to read and react to both the run and pass. He gets a great jump and times his break on the ball precisely. His best attribute may be his range and ability to make plays in all three levels. He times his jump, has a great first step and very good closing speed. Will pop ball carriers and stone them in their tracks as a tackler. He explodes and runs through, although it is a bit high at times. He's a good solo tackler. He has the length, range and closing burst to make plays in coverage, particularly in zone coverage. Reads ball to man and arrives with great timing. He attacks the ball in the air, has long arms and good leaping ability.” -- ESPN scouting report

Cons: “He's strictly a middle-of-the=field zone safety in high school and would need to develop man-to-man coverage skills. He also lacks ideal hip flexibility. He needs to make more secure tackles and avoid letting up leaky yardage.” -- ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: Going off the board here and will say Sean Jones. Matthews greatest asset is his range on the field. He flashes big hits, too. He might miss one now and then going for a hard pop but those instances are rare. He also blocks kicks well.

Expected impact: 2013. As mentioned, Georgia is in dire need of safeties and Matthews will get a look immediately as he is enrolling in January. He is athletically gifted so he has the skill set needed to play next year -- he just needs to learn the playbook. Spring camp will help in that regard. He will also play special teams but not just as a tackler. He is a great punt returner and should at least get a tryout.