TiCats sign Ivy League QB

Drew Edwards ?@scratchingpost 5m5 minutes ago
#Ticats have signed quarterback Jeff Matthews. Set all kinds of FCS records playing for Cornell. :thup:

CFL News ?@CFL_News 14m14 minutes ago
Jeff Mathews described as highly intelligent (went to Cornell where Austin coached him), very accurate and with a big arm. :thup: :thup:

Justin Dunk ?@JDunk12 1m1 minute ago
#Ticats sign QB Jeff Mathews. He was coached by Kent Austin and Tommy Condell at Cornell from 2010-12.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed international quarterback Jeff Mathews, the team announced today.

Mathews, a 6-4, 229-pound, native of Camarillo, California, played four seasons at Cornell University. In 38 games with the Big Red, he completed 901 of 1,447 passing attempts for 11,284 yards and 72 touchdowns to become the most prolific passer in Ivy League and Cornell history, while ranking among the top-20 all-time quarterbacks in FCS history.

The three-time All-Ivy selection concluded his NCAA career with the rights to 47 Big Red school records and 18 Ivy League marks for passing and total offence. Additionally, Mathews became the first sophomore in Ivy League history to be awarded the Bushnell Cup in 2011, the Ivy League’s Offensive Player for the Year, and was also a unanimous choice as the 2010 Ivy League Rookie of Year.

Mathews spent time with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 season.

Looks good....big, tall, good college record. Fiery competitor.Intelligent.

Here is the NFL draft report on him with strengths and weaknesses:

         <!-- m -->[url=http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/jeff-mathews?id=2543797]http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/ ... id=2543797[/url]<!-- m -->

"Marginal athlete with limited mobility" doesn't exactly inspire optimism.

I saw that too. Might not be a problem as long as he gets it away quickly a la Danny Mac.

And we also have another young guy we haven't seen, Jacory Harris. Picked him up last year after he was released by Edmonton. So we now have three QBs who haven't seen game action here. This, on top of the ones who have played. Someone will have to go, even if LeFevour moves elsewhere. Competition is good.

tripper: remember QB Tom Wilkinson ("funny body") with Edmonton.....and William "the Fridge"Perry with Chicago? "The Fridge" at over 300 lbs was probably more mobile than Wilkinson. :slight_smile: But Wilkinson was a three-time CFL All-Star through 15 seasons.
You just never know.

http://scratchingpost.thespec.com/2015/01/why-the-ticats-signed-ex-cornell-qb-jeff-matthews.html

Matthews was a four-year starter and is a pure pocket passer - [u]he had [b]minus 515 yards rushing[/b] for his college career[/u] - but has a gun for an arm and completed over 60 per cent of passes with the Big Red.
I'm thinking that answers the mobility question.

@Tripper Neither was Calvillo, nor is Ray but they can take off when needed. Checked out the video on Drew's blog and he showed some mobility.

I like this signing. Matthews is already familiar with Austin/Condell an their offense. What remains to be seen is if.or how quickly he can adapt to the CFL game and larger field. I can see him as the #2 QB before the end of the season (assuming that McGee and LeFevour are gone).

Not impressed with his passing at the NFL combine.

Several passes easy pics, behind and low, a couple were td strikes on the post routes, but there is no pass rush or db,s.

Stats can be misleading, football is a team sport, must have had a good O line, receivers, running game etc.

He will have to learn how to run and be mobile in the CFL

[url=http://cfl.ca/article/ticats-ink-ivy-league-all-time-leading-qb-mathews]http://cfl.ca/article/ticats-ink-ivy-le ... qb-mathews[/url]

I also question his 2014 tour of the NFL with No offers.

That said he just could be the next Kent Austin :thup:

If it wasnt for the import rule the ticats would have nothing but his former players on the team....

Dawg: We already know Masoli is a bust, so it's worth giving Mathews a shot.
And...it gives us something to discuss here during the late January doldrums here on the forum. :slight_smile:

Luke Tasker is a former Cornell player under Kent Austin who I believe has done well here. So, let's not dismiss Matthews quite so fast.

Yup...Think Danny Mac.
Matthews was expected to be a late round draft choice and was passed by in the draft but quickly signed as a popular FA.
Poor athlete is all relative to the beasts he is compared against. I would have to say you need to be a good athlete to throw the ball as strong and accurately as he does. It is not like he can't run for 10 yards when open.
Best Ivy league QB ever. Now whether that skill set plays well in this era of the CFL needs to be seen.
Interesting pick-up but I am a HUGE Dan Lefebvre fan and would have preferred his resigning.

From Drew Edwards,

Together again: Hamilton Ticats sign quarterback Jeff Mathews

Last November, Jeff Matthews sat in the stands at Tim Hortons Field and watched the Hamilton Tiger-Cats secure a playoff spot with a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over the Montreal Alouettes.

Next season, he hopes to be playing in that very stadium.

Matthews, a 6-foot-4, 229-pound quarterback was signed by the Ticats on Tuesday, reuniting him with both his university coach, Kent Austin, and one of his closest friends, receiver Luke Tasker. It was the invitation from Tasker that gave Matthews a firsthand look at the CFL last fall and went a long way to selling him on the Hamilton experience.

"Going up there and seeing the new stadium, everything looked top-notch. It was an awesome atmosphere and it was clear that the Hamilton fans were really supportive of the Ticats," Matthews said. "I'm excited to be a part of it."

Austin seems pretty happy about it, too. He coached Matthews from the time he was a first year student at Cornell in 2010 until he left the Ivy League program to join the Ticats after the 2012 season. By the time Matthews was finished, he was the Ivy League's all-time leading passer and had broken a number of school records.

Decision-making, accuracy and toughness are the holy trinity of the Austin philosophy of quarterbacking, and he believes Matthews, still just 23, has all three.

"He's a pure passer. He's tall, he's big, he's got a great release, he's smart. He's very confident and composed, a big-time competitor," Austin said. "Jeff can make all the throws but the thing you notice about him is that he's very accurate. He knows how to deliver to the right spots."

And if Austin knows what to expect from Matthews, then Matthews is also familiar with both the coaching style and scheme of his head coach and offensive co-ordinator Tommy Condell. It's a system that depends on the quarterback and the receiver making the same pass pattern adjustments based on defensive coverage.

"He definitely demands a lot of his quarterbacks but, as a player, that's what you want — someone to push you to the best of your ability," Matthews said. "There's a lot of options involved in each play but there's a lot of opportunity to throw the ball down the field. It's fun to play for them."

While Matthews may have a head start on learning the playbook, both he and Austin admit he still has plenty to learn about the CFL game. It goes without saying that Zach Collaros remains firmly entrenched as the team's No. 1 quarterback after leading the team to a Grey Cup berth in his first full season as a starter — and he's only 26.

But behind him, things are less clear. Backup quarterback Dan LeFevour tore one of his knee ligaments last August and is expected to test the market when he becomes a free agent in February. Stephen McGee, who ended the season as the No. 2, is also without a contract for next season. Both may be looking for a team where playing time might be more plentiful.

That leaves Collaros, Matthews as well as Jeremiah Masoli and Jacory Harris under contract at quarterback. That isn't a ton of experience but Austin went into last year with Collaros (who'd made just eight career starts at that point) and three guys who hadn't started a single CFL contest — and made the Grey Cup: it's unlikely he feels compelled to bring in an experienced back up.

And it's clear that Austin and Matthews already have one of the most important ingredients in the relationship between coach and quarterback: trust. Austin started Matthews at Cornell and lived with the growing pains of a young player, while Matthews relied on Austin's guidance while he bounced around with three different NFL teams after going undrafted last spring.

"I talked to coach Austin throughout this process and I respect his opinion. He went through the NFL stuff and ended up having an outstanding career in the CFL," Matthews said. "All along, he encouraged me to do the best thing for me and my family and right now, that's coming to Hamilton."

[url=http://www.thespec.com/sports-story/5267392-together-again-hamilton-ticats-sign-quarterback-jeff-mathews/]http://www.thespec.com/sports-story/526 ... f-mathews/[/url]

Coach Austin and OC coached this guy for three years and probably know him better than anyone. If there's anyone who can make this guy into a CFLer it will be these two guys. :thup:

It's a 1 year contract

"Ex-Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews on Tuesday signed a one-year contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. He'll reunite with former Big Red coach Kent Austin and wide receiver Luke Tasker."

[url=http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/sports/2015/01/20/mathews-headed-canada-cornell-football-reunion/22078213/]http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/spor ... /22078213/[/url]

If it is a one year contract, since he is a rookie, I assume it would also include a one year team option as well?

And your assumption would be correct.

Another story on Mathews,

Mathews eager to make the most of his chance in Canada

ITHACA – The field in Canadian football — kind of like Canada itself — features a lot more wide-open spaces than does its U.S. counterpart.

That's just one of the reasons former Cornell record-setting quarterback Jeff Mathews is eager to start the next chapter of his football life.

"It's a little bit of a new game and a new system, and I'm excited," Mathews said Tuesday night, shortly after signing a one-year contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. The team has an option for a second year, Mathews said.

The move north won't be totally foreign to Mathews, a 2014 Cornell graduate who set 47 school and 18 Ivy League records for passing and total offense in a four-year career. With him for most of his time on East Hill were both Kent Austin — the TiCats' president of football operations, general manager and head coach — and wide receiver Luke Tasker, a 2013 CU grad who just completed his second year in Hamilton.

Neither Austin nor Tasker — who said by text that he expects to sign a new contract by the middle of next week — were available for comment on Wednesday.

Mathews, 6-foot-4 with a cannon for a right arm, signed as a free agent with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons shortly after last year's draft but was released on Aug. 24, at the end of training camp. On Sept. 1, he was signed to the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad but was released a week later. In early December, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals and was on its practice squad through the end of the season.

Throughout all of his football travels over the last eight months, Mathews has been in occasional contact with Austin, usually for advice or encouragement as he navigated the unfamiliar waters of the pro game. Austin, after all, had been there: He played at Mississippi and was drafted in 1986 by the St. Louis Cardinals, but attempted one pass in two years and was released.

Austin wound up playing 10 seasons with four teams in the CFL, winning league titles with Saskatchewan in 1989 and British Columbia in '94. He also coached Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup in 2007 and was named the CFL's coach of the year.

"I reached out to (Austin), moreso for some advice, since he was in that situation when he was playing," the 23-year-old Mathews said. "I asked him what he thougth about it, and he just encouraged me to be patient and wait for my opportunity."

As it turns out, Austin provided him with that opportunity.

"He contacted me and I talked to him a couple of times just to see where they were at," said the easy-going Mathews, a Camarillo, Calif., native, "and he told me they wanted me up there. So we negotiated the contract and it's all good, so now I'm headed up to Hamilton. I'm excited."

The Ivy League's offensive player of the year as a sophomore in 2011, Mathews will have to make some quick adjustments to the CFL field and to some of the subtle rule differences. The CFL playing surface is 110 yards from end zone to end zone and 65 yards across, 10 yards longer and 12 yards wider than in the U.S. The goalposts are on the goal line in Canada as opposed to the end line in the U.S., but the end zones are also twice as deep (20 yards) in the CFL.

The biggest rule differences are the number of players on the field per team — 12 in Canada, one more than in the U.S. — and three downs as opposed to four in American football.

"You've got 12 guys, so there's one more eligible receiver, which sounds like a lot of fun for me," he said with a laugh. "It changes the game a little bit, and then some of the rules are different, the field's a little bigger, so some of the strategies are a little different. Hopefully I can pick that up pretty quickly."

One thing in Mathews' favor as he vies for a job is the TiCats' offensive braintrust — Austin and Tommy Condell, the Ti-Cats' offensive coordinator and receivers coach. Condell was the associate head coach and receivers coach for three years under Austin at Cornell.

"The scheme's similar (to what we ran at Cornell)," Mathews said, "but with that extra guy, there are some nuances to it that I've got to learn quickly."

The TiCats finished fourth in total offense and second in passing offense in the CFL, led by 26-year-old quarterback Zach Collaros, who completed 279 of 424 passes (65.8 pct.) for 3,261 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Mathews said he expects to be in Hamilton in March to get familiar with things and to "hang out and throw with 'Task'," he said, referring to former All-Ivy wideout Tasker, who finished fourth in the league with 72 receptions this past season for 937 yards and five touchdowns.

Training camp begins in early June, with the regular season starting in late June.

Mathews, a three-time All-Ivy selection at Cornell and the league's all-time passing leader with 11,284 career yards and 72 touchdowns, said that all Austin is guaranteeing him is a chance to compete. That's good enough for him.

"He (Austin) has always been about the best guy playing, so I'm excited," Mathews said. "That's all you want to hear, at any point."

[url=http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/sports/2015/01/21/mathews-eager-make-chance-canada/22122849/]http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/spor ... /22122849/[/url]

It's LeFevour not Lefebvre. He isn't from Quebec. :roll: