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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Aggie Snapshot: C Mike Matthews

By Sam Khan Jr.

During the summer, GigEmNation will take a closer look at returning starters and other key players on the two-deep for Texas A&M -- excluding the Aggies' 2013 recruiting class -- who could make notable impact this fall in our Aggie Snapshot series. Starting with No. 1 De'Vante Harris, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 95 Julien Obioha.

No. 56 Mike Matthews
Sophomore center

Impact thus far: As a true freshman last season, Matthews did not redshirt and traveled with the team. He saw action as a reserve center in seven games behind then-starter Patrick Lewis.

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Matthews, who is the younger brother of senior left tackle Jake Matthews, steps in to be the starter at center. Though it might be difficult to expect him to play at the level of Lewis, who was a senior last year, the coaches have been grooming Mike Matthews to get ready for this fall.

Best-case scenario in 2013: If Matthews steps in and excels, it might not come as a big surprise given his pedigree. His older brother Jake played early in his career and found success, and Jake and Mike's older brother Kevin -- who is now with the NFL's Tennessee Titans -- started his final 25 games in Aggieland. Mike has to get used to running the fast-tempo offense for a full four quarters, but if he can grasp that quickly, the offensive line and the offense as a whole will benefit greatly.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Being a first-time starter in a line-of-scrimmage league in the SEC isn't an easy task. Mike is lighter in weight than several of the defensive tackles and nose tackles he'll go up against so that could be a challenge and something he'll have to adapt to in addition to mastering the fast pace of the offense.

Future impact: The coaching staff decided against redshirting Mike Matthews to set him up as a three-year starter in the SEC, so that's what the expectation is for him. He was a U.S. Army All-American coming out of high school and was a three-year starter at center for Missouri City (Texas) Elkins. While this is a higher level with much tougher competition, Matthews' work ethic, talent and pedigree suggest that he'll have a good career at Texas A&M just like his older brothers did.