Jake Matthews was tempted to leave Texas A&M early for the NFL.
Who was staying behind, however, helped keep him in College Station.
At Southeastern Conference Media Days on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., the senior beamed about another year on the offensive line with younger brother Mike.
“I got to play with him a year in high school. It is something I really enjoyed and really remember,” Jake said. “That is one of the bigger reasons I wanted to stay for my senior year. You don’t get many opportunities to play college football with your brother.”
The Matthews brothers are both expected to start for the Aggies this year. Jake, an All-American and All-SEC selection at right tackle last year, moves to left tackle to replace Luke Joeckel after he was drafted second overall in April by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mike, a sophomore, is expected to replace Patrick Lewis as starting center.
“First and foremost, Luke is a great player,” Jake said. “It is tough to replace a player like that. But I’m real confident in my playing ability and what I’ll be able to do next year. I know as a team we are looking forward to it.”
The brothers were teammates for one year at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas. Jake just missed playing college football with his older brother, Kevin, who played at Texas A&M and is now with the Washington Redskins.
The brothers are following in the footsteps of their father, Bruce Matthews. The Hall of Famer currently coaches the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line. Jake said his father plans to attend Texas A&M’s much anticipated home game against Alabama on Sept. 14. The Titans play in Houston the next day.
“It’s definitely one we have circled beating them last year,” Jake said. “I’m sure they’ll want to come back and get some revenge on us.”
Of course, Jake Matthews couldn’t escape SEC Media Days without being asked about Johnny Manziel.
After becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, the Aggies quarterback enjoyed a busy offseason, which included pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for a June 2012 arrest after giving police a fake driver’s license. Manziel also made headlines for leaving the Manning Passing Academy early on Sunday.
Jake said he’s not worried about Manziel’s offseason adventures spilling over into the season.
“I try not to concern myself with him off the field,” he said with a laugh. “He is a great guy. Especially after winning the Heisman, one thing I’ve noticed, he is the same as he was before.
"He still treats all the players the same. Same competitor. Works just as hard. Still is determined. I’m faithful and have trust in him that he is going to be ready for this season and ready for what is coming.”