A long college journey that started in Fort Worth, Texas looks like it will end in Las Cruces, New Mexico for former Southern Miss quarterback Tyler Matthews.
Southern Miss transfer QB Tyler Matthews committed to NMSU From my understanding he will graduate and be eligible right away. '12 TCU signee— Jason Groves (@JPGroves) January 28, 2016
Matthews, a four-star recruit and Army All-American out of high school, started his career with the TCU Horned Frogs of the Big 12. The Kansas native redshirted his first season and then faced off versus somewhat unknown quarterback prospect Trevone Boykin for the starting job during his redshirt freshman year.
The battle was fierce, but Boykin was able to secure the starting job in the end. The decision proved to be the right choice as Boykin went on to have a record setting year at TCU, pushing Matthews to the side as the backup.
Looking at a possibility of being stuck behind Boykin for his entire college career, Matthews decided instead to look for a new program to join. He then took a flier from Todd Monken and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, a program that had just ended a 23-game losing streak.
Due to NCAA transfer rules, Matthews had to sit out his sophomore season and lost that year of eligibility. As soon as he was officially cleared to play, Matthews was immediately embroiled in another battle for the starting quarterback position. This time it was against two-year starter Nick Mullens.
The battle between Matthews and Mullens was one of the position battles to watch during the offeseason. It was much too close to call during spring, summer, and even fall practices. In fact, many people that followed Southern Miss very closely had no clue who would be the quarterback until the first offensive series versus Mississippi State.
Mullens, by the slimmest of margins, jogged out on the field versus the SEC program after being awarded the job over Matthews. Mullens went on to break multiple school records in what was the most impressive statistical season in Golden Eagles history.
So, Matthews sat again. He waited his turn and quickly realized that his only hope of starting in 2016 was to become a graduate transfer. Weeks after the season ended, Matthews announced that he would graduate from Southern Miss in May and pursue a transfer for his final year of eligibility.
Many schools inquired about the prototypical pocket passer before he was able to narrow his choices down to two programs: New Mexico State Aggies and UTSA Roadrunners. The Aggies had one inroad that proved to be the difference. Matthews' younger brother, Cameron, was already being heavily recruited by the program before Tyler had even given thought to a transfer.
Matthews made the decision to join his younger brother on a visit to the school so that he could speak with head coach Doug Martin. Liking what he heard from the coach, the Aggies shot up to the top of his choices. While Tyler did not commit on the spot, Cameron decided to pledge his services to NMSU.
Just a few days later, Matthews realized he couldn't turn down a chance to play on a team with his younger brother and committed to New Mexico State. With the commitment, Matthews is eligible for only the 2016 season with the Aggies as a graduate transfer.
Nothing can be official from the program until much later as Matthews still has to graduate in May from Southern Miss in order to transfer. Everything seems to be in order for his graduation, so official word from the program should come as soon as he officially transfers to the program.
So, who is in the way at quarterback at NMSU?
Currently, the Aggies have only three quarterbacks on the 2016 roster: Tyler Rogers, Jason Fitzpatrick, and Nick Jeanty. Andrew Allen, 2015's leading passer, is listed as a wide receiver/quarterback for the upcoming season. The NMSU coaching staff would prefer to use Allen as a receiver this fall, a decision that should be much easier with the commitment of Matthews. JUCO transfer Conner Cramer will also be part of the mix at quarterback, along with Tyler's younger brother Cameron.
The starting job will likely come down to a competition between Rogers and Matthews, making this the third different starting quarterback battle at three different schools for Matthews. Rogers, a senior, threw for over 2,700 yards in 2014 before fighting through an injury plagued junior year that ended with 966 yards in the air.