Luke Matthews, a senior offensive lineman from Elkins High School, has been selected to play in the 2018 U.S. Army All American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 6.
Over 400 players were nominated, and 100 were selected to play in the game.
“This is a great honor. Two of my brothers have played in this game, and I have always wanted to follow in their footsteps,” Matthews said. “They notified me just before our season started that I had been selected to play in this year’s game. It was an awesome feeling.”
Matthews is the youngest of five boys, and second youngest of the Matthews’ seven children. Luke’s oldest brother Steven didn’t play college football, but Kevin went to A&M and played for five years in the NFL, Jake was a first-round draft pick out of Texas A&M for the Atlanta Falcons, and Mike signed as a free agent out of A&M with the Cleveland Browns and is currently on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster.
Elkins head coach Dennis Brantley coached Jake, Mike and Luke.
“Luke is right there even with his brothers as far as ability. Jake is probably a little better because of his skill level. Jake had it all. Mikey, he was just mean. I see a great career for Luke. I see him as a guard because he so wide and he has quick feet. In my opinion, guard will be his ideal position,” Brantley said. “Footwork is vital for an offensive lineman. If you don’t have the footwork to get your body in place to make a block, you will have problems. Luke has the footwork. He was born with good footwork, but he has really worked hard to improve it.”
Luke played little league baseball and some other sports when he was younger, but he chose to play football.
“He has grown up around football his whole life, and he has had hard work and what it takes modeled for him his whole life. He is excited to take on a ship and blaze his own trail,” Bruce Matthews, Luke’s father, said. “He has always loved football. Honestly, if he had decided to play another sport, I think his brothers would have beat him up. “
Bruce is quoted on his NFL Hall of Fame web page as saying fear was the thing that drove him. He didn’t want to be the lineman that got beat or made a mistake. Luke agrees with that motivation.
“I think that’s one of the biggest drives for an athlete. The fear that you are going to mess up, or do something wrong. You want to be the best athlete on the field. You never want to get beat. You always want to be the one winning out there. You want to give your hardest and your all.”
Carrie Matthews, Luke’s mother, remembers that Luke grew taller than her in grade school.
“Fortunately, Luke was a good kid, because I couldn’t point my finger down at him and say stop doing that,” Carrie said. “All of the older kids complain that Luke gets special preference since he is the youngest boy. There is some truth to the thought that the younger ones get away with things because you are just too tired to deal with it.”
Raising five football players in her house did have some drawbacks.
“There was a lot of furniture damage in my house over the years. My house is still a wreck. I am hoping maybe some day to redecorate but the problem is we are starting in with grandbabies now. There might not be any hope for my house, but that’s OK,” Carrie said.
Luke will attend Texas A&M University in the fall.
“I’ll see how preseason practice goes. The coaches have said I can compete for a starting spot or take a red-shirt season,” Luke said. “We will see what happens.”