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August 25, 2013

30 in 30: Ags look for big things from Matthews

For the second consecutive year, AggieYell.com is marking the progress towards the start of fall camp with its 30 players in 30 days feature on the most important players to Texas A&M's success in 2013. The list continues with number 13, Howard Matthews.

Position: Safety
Classification: Junior
Height/Weight: 6'2", 200 lbs.
2012 Statistics: 58 tackles, 1 TFL, 6 PBU in 12 games (5 starts)
Why he's on the list: Last year, Matthews started the season in defensive coordinator Mark Snyder's doghouse, not only being suspended for a game but not really considered a factor for the future, either. By the end of the season, he had become what both Tim DeRuyter and Snyder had hoped for: a tackling machine that could inflict damage with big hits, as he did to cause A.J. McCarron's first interception in the victory over Alabama.

This year, there is no question about Matthews' status: he has not only earned Snyder's trust, but he is expected to be one of the leaders of the defense. Once sullen and moody, Matthews is now happy and a player his teammates respect. His play down the stretch last year was at an All-SEC level, with an impressive 13 tackles against Missouri and nine against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Much improved against the pass, SEC offenses will not only have to account for him in the secondary, but blitzing the quarterback as well. If he continues to progress the way he did at the end of 2012, 2013 could be a very big year for Howard Matthews.

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