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A Star in the Making

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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It will be approximately three years until D.J. Matthews has an opportunity to sign his Letter of Intent to a college institution. It will take much less time, however, for him to become a household name to college football fans across the country.

First Coast High School, located in the football hotbed of Jacksonville, Florida, is perennially home to some of the top football talent in the entire southeast.

In the class of 2015 alone, the Buccaneers already have three elite prospects who have given their verbal commitments to elite programs at the collegiate level: QB De’Andre Johnson (Florida State), WR Tristan Payton (Florida) and LB Sherrod Pittman (South Carolina). First Coast also has a fourth rising senior, OT William Sweet, who has received more than a dozen scholarship offers from some of the top powers in the country, including Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and LSU.

By the time it is all said and done, however, there is a very good chance that none of the aforementioned players will go down in the history books at First Coast’s top prospect on the current roster.

Still a relative newcomer to the recruiting scene, 2017 wide receiver D.J. Matthews wasted little time in making his presence felt at the high school level. Playing one of the most talented offensive units in the Sunshine State, Matthews finished his freshman campaign with 39 receptions for 640 yards and seven touchdowns. His exceptional performance on the gridiron earned him Freshman All-American accolades from MaxPreps.

“I liked my first season of high school football; I think I did well,” Matthews told Southern Pigskin. “It took me some time to adjust to the speed of the game, but I think I did well.”

While Matthews made an immediate name for himself with his standout play last fall, his name has really started to generate a buzz in the last couple of months. Travelling around the seven-on-seven circuit with the River City Kings, Matthews has gained considerable national recognition for his stellar performances playing against the region’s elite.

He will also continue to have increased chances to improve his already lofty recruiting profile this fall as he becomes an even bigger part of First Coast’s scheme. Matthews, an exceptional athlete at five-foot-eleven, 165 pounds, will continue to be one of Johnson’s main targets on the perimeter this fall, but also will look to get playing time at running back and safety.

Though Matthews is not yet even old enough to own a driver’s license, that has not prevented college coaches from taking notice of his elite talents, even if they are not yet able to fully recruit his services.

In the meantime, though, Matthews has attempted to put recruiting on the proverbial back-burner, as he attempts to stay away from all of the hype which can sometimes drown elite prospects. Instead, he has focused his energy towards winning improving his already dynamic skill-set.

“I really just want to win a state championship before my high school career is over,” Matthews said. “I also want to be ranked as the number one receiver in the country, and I want to go over 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving.”

Matthews still has some time before the recruiting process fully explodes into a complete frenzy, but it already appears that there could be a front-runner for his services.

A life-long Florida State fan, Matthews attended a Seminoles camp in Tallahassee, and says that he grew up dreaming of wearing the garnet and gold. The idea of potentially playing in Tallahassee with his current high school quarterback also adds to the intrigue of the Florida State program.

It will be approximately three years until Matthews has an opportunity to sign his Letter of Intent to a college institution. It will take much less time, however, for him to become a household name to college football fans across the country.

As he continues to increase his size, strength and speed, Matthews should prove to be a nearly unstoppable force at the high school level over the next few seasons.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.