Texas A&M OL Jake Matthews Will Stay in School for Senior Season

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive linesman Jake Matthews (75) blocks against the LSU Tigers in the first quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M offensive lineman Jake Matthews will return to the Aggies for his senior season instead of declaring for the 2013 NFL Draft, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.

Texas A&M confirms Jake Matthews staying

— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 10, 2013

Matthews was viewed as one of the top offensive tackles available and a likely first-round selection should have declared for the draft. Instead, he will return to school with hopes of boosting his stock before next year.

The 6'5'' powerhouse turned a lot of heads while helping pave the way for Johnny Manziel's run to the Heisman Trophy. He's shown off a terrific combination of strength and athleticism, leading many to believe he was ready to make the jump.

By going back to school, he gets a chance to spend another season improving his skills against elite SEC defenses. And, with Manziel aiming for another Heisman season, Matthews should remain in the spotlight for NFL scouts.

Another factor is the departure of fellow tackle Luke Joeckel, who's projected to be one of the top picks come April, which could allow Matthews to slide over to the more prominent left tackle spot.

If he can illustrate a similar level of dominance on the left side of the line, it would do wonders for his draft stock. Joeckel thrived, and that's why he's in the top overall pick conversation. Matthews has the similar potential if he does make the switch.

His return is great news for the Aggies, who would have struggled mightily to replace their top two tackles in the same offseason.

The other people happy about his decision are Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson, two tackles in competition for draft spots with Matthews. They can feel a little more confident about their stocks now that he's out of the equation.

NFL teams that were targeting him won't be as pleased. They'll have to explore other options because Matthews is staying in College Station.