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November 30, 2011
MISSOURI CITY, Texas - On Wednesday the U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection tour continued to make its way through the Greater Houston area. The latest stop was at Missouri City Elkins High School to honor one of the top offensive linemen in the country with his official invitation to play in the 2012 contest.
Mike Matthews, a four-star prospect and the nation's No. 2 center, is the latest player from the Lone Star State to add his name to the game's roster. In front of his family and teammates, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior was presented with his jersey amid loud cheers. He is one of 90 top players from across the country to receive the honor.
"It's just really exciting to know that I'm part of these 90 players that got invited," Matthews said. "It's a really humbling experience to get this type of reward.
The Matthews family is not new to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Two years ago, older brother and current Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews also had a chance to participate in the contest. The younger Matthews says he is proud to continue the family legacy, not just at the game in San Antonio but also in college.
"With my brother playing in it two years ago I definitely feel like I need to follow in his footsteps," Matthews said. "He played in this game and now he's up at A&M starting - I hope that I'm able to follow the path he set. I'd like to be able to play at A&M right next to him. I really look up to him a lot."
Mike Matthews says he has had a chance to talk to his older brother about what to expect during his week in San Antonio for the game.
"He said he had a great time and had a lot of fun," Matthews said. "He said to expect to meet a lot of new people. Trey Williams and Bralon Addison are going to be there so hopefully I have a chance to get to know my future teammates better and get a little bit of connection with them.
"I don't know any of the other guys in the game besides those two because I didn't really go to any camps or anything. It will be exciting to meet a lot of these good players and see what kind of people they are and what kind of talent they have. I'll get to test myself against them to see how good I am at this point too."
Even though he has had two older brothers play college football and is the son of NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, Mike Matthews says he has still be caught off guard by all of the attention he has received.
"I don't think it ever really hit me (that I was good enough to be an All-American)," he said. "It hasn't even hit me now. I don't really like to boast at all. I just go out there and do my best and try to use the abilities that God has given me. Whatever happens, happens and I'm just thankful for the opportunity to get to play."
In addition to following the paths his father and brothers set, Matthews knows there is a rich history of current NFL and college stars that have played in the Army Bowl and he would like to replicate their success as well.
"I know there are guys like Tim Tebow and Ndamukong Suh that played in it," he said. "It's going to be the first step for me to hopefully follow in their footsteps. I'll hopefully be able to make it to the same place they are someday."
Matthews and the West team take on the East in the 12th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be nationally televised on NBC.