Issues at wide receiver bogged down the University of Kentucky offense for much of the 2008 season.
The Wildcats are hoping that junior-college prospect Chris Matthews will help them deal with those issues in 2009.
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Matthews, a highly-touted prospect from Harbor Community College in Los Angeles, committed to UK shortly after returning from an official visit to Lexington this past weekend. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Matthews is listed as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and is ranked the No. 9 player in the Rivals.com junior college Top 100. Matthews said his visit to the UK campus sealed the deal.
"It's a great place; I can't wait to get there," he said. "I loved everything about it, the coaches, the campus, the players. Plus, they need receivers, and I believe I can be the big-time receiver they've been looking for."
Matthews caught 80 passes for 1,250 yards and 11 touchdown this season for Harbor College. He plans to arrive in Lexington in May. UK has had success in the past with junior-college receivers such as Aaron Boone, Chris Bernard and Steve Johnson. But all three players needed a year to get acclimated to SEC football before becoming major contributors in their senior seasons.
Matthews said Harbor College ran the same pro-style offense as UK, and he hopes that will allow him to make an immediate impact.
"As soon as I sign in February the coaches are going to send me a playbook and the weight and conditioning program so I can be ready to go when I get there in May," he said.
Matthews said he'll still take visits to Louisville on Jan. 3 and Memphis on Jan. 16, but he is firm in his commitment to UK. A teammate at Harbor, defensive end DeQuin Evans, is also being recruited by Kentucky.
"I'm working on him," Matthews said. "He's a big-time player. Hopefully I can get him to join me."
Sanders not a finalist for Chattanooga job
Kentucky quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders was not listed as a finalist for the head coaching job at Chattanooga, according to a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Sanders told the Times Free Press last week that he was interested in the job and that he had talked with the school about the opening, but Chattanooga athletics director Rick Hart told the newspaper that his search was down to three candidates: Tennessee-Martin Coach Jason Simpson, Lambuth University Coach Hugh Freeze and Richmond defensive coordinator Russ Huesman.
More honors for Lindley
UK junior cornerback Trevard Lindley has been named third-team All-America by Phil Steele's College Football. Lindley has four interceptions and 11 pass breakups this season. He leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks 14th nationally in passes defended per game. A consensus first-team All-SEC honoree, he also was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and second-team All-America by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.