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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Jon Neimeyer on Chris Matthews

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Today begins Pool 2 of the first round of the “Who Wants to be a Blogger” contest. Like yesterday, we will have four contestants, each profiling a different UK footballer. One will be eliminated tonight at 8:30 pm. Today’s judge is Matt Jones

When asked to preview Chris Matthews for KSR, I was excited. After all, as a political science major and lawyer, I thought Matt was tapping me for something BIG — a political preview and analysis for my first blog on KSR. But, previewing Chris Matthews on topic – UK football — perplexed me. Yes, UK’s offense was anemic last year, suffering a huge drop in productivity, particularly at the quarterback and receiver positions. The offense averaged only 22.6 ppg versus 36.5 in 2007, and Joker is on record as saying “We want to get back to that offense of two years ago.”

Don’t we all? But is Chris Matthews the answer? The guy’s slow, pondering and overly excitable, but even with full eligibility remaining after his four years at Holy Cross, are we really that desperate for receiving help? . . . And, do we want UNC’s castoffs? He did grad work at Chapel Hill for gosh sakes. After doing a bit more research, I realized it is not THAT Chris Matthews, but THIS Chris Matthews I’m previewing, and he plays his own version of hardball.

If you, like me, have gotten lazy in reviewing football preview magazines and keeping up with the spring signees after a thoroughly interesting and exciting UK basketball offseason, let me fill you in. The more I read about Chris, the more I think this guy, outside of the shakeout at QB, is the key to an offensive resurgence for the Cats this season.

The Basics
Matthews, a 6’5”, 210 lb wide receiver who runs a 4.4 or 4.5 forty (depending on who you listen to), will have two years of eligibility remaining after transferring as a JUCO from Los Angeles Harbor College (assuming that school really exists). He was a top 10 JUCO by Rivals and the 2nd rated WR. In only 9 games last year, he caught 80 balls for 1,235 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Rich Brooks Likes Chris

Upon his signing in February, Rich Brooks, obviously thrilled with Chris’ skills and potential, said this about Matthews: “Chris will bring experience to a position on our team that was very young a year ago. He obviously has had a great junior college career and we are looking forward to having a very physical and tall receiver compete next fall for playing time. We feel that Chris can bring outstanding playmaking ability and he certainly has great ball skills.”

Chris Likes UK

In an interview with Jim Tirey of TCP back in December, Chris waxed on about how impressed he was with the coaches and players while watching practices in preparation for the Liberty Bowl. He had yet to commit at that time, but cited this interesting quote from “one of the quarterbacks” on the roster — a bit shocking considering our stable of quarterbacks — but impressive nonetheless:

“I had a conversation with one of the quarterbacks, and I liked what he told me. He said that we are all teammates, but when we are out on the field, we’re there to handle our business. He said our goal next year is to win the BCS championship. And I feel that. So basically, I listened to what they said and that was that they are very serious about their work.”

In an interview with Jody Demling after signing, Chris had a few more nuggets to get UK fans juiced about the season. As you can see, Chris loves the red zone:

“They can expect a lot of touchdowns next season,” Matthews said. “We are going to score a lot this year. They had a good defense and now they have (offensive) guys they’re bringing in, so we’re going to have a lot of scoring. I am a big red-zone magnet. Everytime we get into the red zone, as soon as I catch the ball hard it’s hard for them to bring me down. I’m trying to score every time I catch the ball.

I Like Chris

With Cobb cemented as one WR and the rest of the receiving corp having another year under their belts, Matthews will only strengthen a young but promising group. Having watched some of his highlights from last year at Los Angeles Harbor, he looks like a young Randy Moss. He has the build, the work ethic, the hands and the speed to make an immediate impact at UK. The biggest question is UK’s in flux QB position. Matthews can fly for his size, and can get downfield. He is a huge target and many of his highlights show him out jumping smaller d-backs for spectacular catches. Of course, at LA Harbor (is that a MLS team?), Matthews wasn’t lined up across from Florida and Bama, but with Cobb drawing double coverage, I can see Matthews getting single coverage and burning smaller defenders deep . . ..if someone can get him the ball. That someone remains to be seen.

Chris Likes Twitter (but does Twitter Like Him?)

Lastly, in this day and age, profiling a guy has to include a review of his tweets, and unfortunately, this guy has about the same number of followers as me — 3. Of course, he’s still under the radar, new in town, etc., and his tweets have not exactly been informative, interesting or, for that matter, frequent (see below). But, let’s welcome the guy with open arms and help him get him some followers. But, if Matthews plays the version of hardball for UK this fall that I think he can, he’ll have a heckuva lot more followers than 3 by Thanksgiving.

MATT’s TAKE:

Generally speaking, this is a strong entry. I like the format you utilized, lots of quotes from the player and you did what a couple of the contestants yesterday were not able to do….take a player we dont know well and make him come to life. I especially like trying to go off the beaten path by looking at his Twitter (although you should have included his Twitter name, and sent jpegs of his account). Still though that was a strong way to play it.

The Chris Matthews joke and the picture you sent is a bit played out however and easy. We have made it here a lot and it is likely something that he has heard in the “Office Space”/Michael Bolton way, a lot in his life. Still that is nitpicking…it could have been better, but it wasnt bad and it was very creative. Nice job indeed.

Be back at 8:30 with the results…..

Article written by Matt Jones