Senior defensive end who is an honors candidate in his final campaign after earning second-team All-SEC honors in 2009... team captain who is listed on the preseason Lott Trophy, Nagurski and Lombardi watch lists... is a consensus preseason first-team All-SEC selection... considered one of the hardest-working, best-effort players in recent memory... possesses tremendous quickness and athleticism and superior overall ability... did not participate in the spring while rehabbing from shoulder surgery... has played in 37 games over the past three seasons, including 33 starts, most among the returning players... has accounted for 105 career tackles including 17.5 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks.
2009: One of four captains named prior to the start of the season... named second-team All-SEC by the league's coaches and an honorable mention selection by the Associated Press... recorded 47 tackles including 35 solo stops... had 10.0 tackles for loss including 7.0 sacks... ranked in the SEC's top-five in sacks, led the league with four fumble recoveries and was tied for second with three forced fumbles... credited with 5.0 tackles including a pair of sacks and forced a fumble in the season-opening win at NC State... recovered a fumble against FAU... had six tackles including a pair of sacks, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and had a fumble recovery in the upset win over fourth-ranked Ole Miss... had five tackles including a tackle for loss against Kentucky and preserved the victory by batting down the Wildcats' game-tying two-point conversion attempt late in the contest... named midseason second-team All-SEC by Phil Steele... recovered a fumble at Alabama... logged eight tackles including a sack, and forced a fumble against Vanderbilt... suffered a left shoulder injury against Tennessee and did not play at Arkansas... did not start, but saw action against Florida, recording a sack... had a sack against Clemson... recovered a fumble in the bowl loss to UConn... given the Weight Room Effort Award for the defense and captured the Joe Morrison Award as the top defensive player of the spring.
2008: Moved to defensive end after spending most of his freshman season at outside linebacker... started all 13 games... logged 32 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks... credited with his first sack of the season at Vanderbilt... also had sacks against Tennessee and Arkansas... recovered a fumble against UAB... earned the Everyday Effort Award for the defense in the spring.
2007: Named to both the SEC Coaches and the Sporting News Freshman All-SEC team as an outside linebacker... also named to the honorable mention freshman All-America squad by the Sporting News... played in all 12 games, making nine starts at outside linebacker... made his first start at LSU in week four despite suffering a small break in his right hand in practice the week leading up to the game... remained in the starting lineup through the remainder of the season... credited with a partially blocked punt against LSU, the first for the Gamecocks since the 2000 season... recorded 26 tackles, including 20 solo stops... had a pair of tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry... logged a season-high four tackles against South Carolina State and matched that total against North Carolina.
HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated from Cheraw (S.C.) High School in 2007... was a two-way starter, playing both tight end and defensive end... led his team to the state championship... earned first-team all-state honors from The State... also was an all-region selection... was the Shrine Bowl Defensive MVP after finishing with four tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery... had three tackles and a pair of sacks in the Offense-Defense All-Star Game... recorded 75 tackles and 120 sacks as a junior... coached by Johnny White... ranked as a five-star prospect and the sixth-best defensive end in the country by Scout.com... considered a four-star prospect, the 32nd-best player in the nation, the second-best player in the state of South Carolina and the No. 3 weak side defensive end in the country by Rivals.com... rated the No. 1 player in the state of South Carolina, the 10th-best defensive lineman in the country and the 47th-best player overall in the nation by SuperPrep... ranked as the 10th-best defensive lineman in the country by PrepStar... was also all-state in basketball and track & field... runs a 4.7 40-yard dash... spurned offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and others to sign with the Gamecocks.
PERSONAL: Cliff Matthews was born August 5, 1989... interested in a degree in criminal justice.