January 24, 2010

Mathews eager to compete for job

There's been pressure on Brishen Mathews all season.

He's proven time and time again, however, that he isn't one to give in to it.

Mathews, a three-star safety from Monticello, Ark., committed to Ole Miss on July 29. Since then, he's had offers roll in and more than a little home-state pressure applied.

All Mathews did was lead his team to a state championship, win the ArkansasVarsity.com Mr. Football Award and prepare himself for his career with the Rebels.

Over the weekend, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Mathews took his official visit to Ole Miss. The 48 hours in Oxford only solidified his plans to sign with the Rebels on Feb. 3.

"It was great," Mathews said. "I had a great time. The lifestyle, the people, the atmosphere, the scenery, everything is beautiful.

"Nothing's changed. Nothing will change."

Instead, Mathews was stunned by how many students and Oxford residents/visitors knew who he was. Throughout the weekend, as Mathews strolled Oxford's historic downtown square, fans approached him to introduce themselves.

"I was just feeling great inside," Mathews said. "I would walk down the street and random people would come up to me. It just felt great to be known, I guess."

Mathews, who was hosted by Ole Miss special teams standout George Helow, said the Rebels' coaching staff told him to report to school ready to compete. With Kendrick Lewis heading to the NFL after his two-interception performance in Ole Miss' AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic win over Oklahoma State, there is a safety spot open.

"As soon as I get here in May, there's a spot open," Mathews said. "It doesn't have my name on it, but I have to work on it. All I need is a chance and I plan to take advantage of it."

Mathews, who had 12 carries for 170 yards and a touchdown in Monticello Senior's Class 5A state championship game victory, spent a good part of the weekend with fellow Ole Miss commitment Cliff Coleman and Hollywood, Fla., cornerback Tony Grimes, who has narrowed his choices to Ole Miss, Maryland and Michigan.

"Tony is waiting until Signing Day, but I really believe when it's all said and done, Tony's going to have Ole Miss on his chest," Mathews said.

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