In 2006, Casey Matthews was an outstanding linebacker prospect from Oaks Christian High School in Southern California. Although he had scholarship offers from various Division I schools (Arizona State, California, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Oregon to name a few), one school was missing: USC.
One would think that the name "Matthews" would have meant something to those running the University of Southern California football program. You see, both Casey's father (Clay Matthews) and his uncle (Bruce Matthews) had been All-Americans at the university and his two older brothers (Kyle and Clay III) even walked on for the Trojan football team in the years prior to Casey's recruitment.
So when USC offered scholarships to three other Los Angeles area prospects (Chris Galippo, Jordan Campbell and Malcolm Smith) perhaps they thought that Casey would simply pay his own way for the opportunity to play for the Trojans—they were wrong.
Instead, Casey chose to matriculate to the University of Oregon, and over his four-year career, he has seen the Ducks scoring defense improve from 26.5 points-per-game in 2006 (the year before he arrived) to just 18.7 in 2010.
Meanwhile USC's scoring defense has gone from 15.2 points-per-game in 2006, to 26.7 in 2010. And just to punctuate it even more, Casey also went 3-1 against the school who chose not to extend a scholarship offer to him.
In October of 2010, Matthews made it clear that USC could have had his talents if they'd simply made a scholarship available: “If you had asked me four years ago if I would have accepted an offer from USC, I would have jumped at it,” Matthews said. “But I’m really glad the way things worked out.”
Too bad they can't measure motivation at the NFL combine, huh?