With the departure of Ke’Aun Kinner, and the rest of the running back corps leaving something to be desired in 2016, running back was shaping up to be a bit of a question mark in the coming year. The highest rated recruit in the class, Dominic Williams, should bolster the talent level at the position, but impact true freshman running backs are rare. Enter the Jahawks’ lone signing day surprise: Octavius Matthews.
Matthews is a junior college running back who committed to Louisville last spring, only to spurn them for Auburn two months later. Today, seemingly out of the blue, Matthews decided against becoming a Tiger and will be donning the crimson and blue.
Matthews is listed at 6’1, 200 pounds, so he brings size to the position, and if his 40 time is to believed (though they typically aren’t), he still runs a 4.45. In addition to averaging 7.7 yards per carry at Itawumba Community College in Fulton, MS, he’s caught 28 passes over two years as well.
Matthews is listed as a 3 star recruit by both Rivals and 247, and he should compete with Taylor Martin for the starting job right away. Kansas has been burned by some jucos with high expectations in the past (e.g. Joques Crawford, half the recruits Charlies Weis brought in), so two decommitments in one year raises an eyebrow, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. So far, Martin has looked like more of a speed-first, change of pace type of back, so hopefully Matthews can be the every-down presence that Kinner gave the Jayhawks last year.