OXFORD, Miss. — As we count down the days until the Ole Miss season opener against Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, we are releasing who we think the Top 50 Most Impactful Players will be for the Rebels this season. This series is a way for Ole Miss fans to learn more about players to keep an eye on this fall.
With 23 days before kickoff, coming in at No. 23…
Bryce Mathews was a four-star offensive lineman prospect according to Rivals, Scout, and 247Sports when he signed with Ole Miss in the class of 2016 and was ranked as the 13th-highest offensive tackle prospect in the country. The 6-foot-6, 302-pound Brentwood, Tennessee native has an NFL pedigree as he is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Jason Mathews who played for the Colts and Titans.
Mathews was redshirted during the 2016 season. In 2017 and 2018, he made appearances at left tackle behind Greg Little, who was selected in the 2nd Round by the Carolina Panthers in April of 2019.
After a great spring, Mathews stepped into the starter role at left tackle as the team headed into fall camp. Now a junior, he discussed his role with The Rebel Walk during Media Day last week.
“It’s exciting. Obviously, I’ve been waiting a while to get a shot to get some real playing time, but I’m excited for the opportunity. I think it’s going to be fun.”
Mathews explained how spring practices helped him transition into fall camp.
“It prepared me a lot,” he said.
“Getting to play against the first team defense and getting ready for the speed of the SEC, I think it has been great for me.”
Bryce Mathews on preparing for SEC play
Mathews has done a very good job in the classroom during his time in Oxford, earning SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll accolades every season — as well as being named the 2016 NFF Freshman Scholar-Athlete and earning a spot on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll twice during his career. It’s no surprise Mathews is being asked to also take on the role of center in the event that starting center Eli Johnson gets injured. The center is essentially the quarterback of the offensive line, in charge of making sure everyone is on the same page. Mathews’ intelligence makes it a no-brainer as to why he’s the backup to Johnson at center.
“I played a lot of different positions, even in the spring, between both tackles and center. I feel like I just need to get more reps at center just to be ready if that needed to happen,” Mathews explained.
“Tackle has always been where I have played ever since high school, so I feel a little more comfortable there probably, but center is still a little new, but it’s nothing that I can’t do. I think it worked out well for me in the spring to get more adjusted to it.”
OL Bryce Mathews on playing multiple positions
Head coach Matt Luke recently spoke about which players he looks to for leadership on the O-line with Alex Givens now out of fall camp with an injury.
“It’s going to start with Bryce Mathews and Michael Howard. Bryce has been around and Michael’s been around. They haven’t played a ton, but they’ve been around a bunch. I’m excited to see what they’re going to do.”
Regardless of wherever Mathews lines up on the offensive line, he’s going to have a big impact on how much success this team has in the trenches this fall.
Look for No. 71 on the O-line this fall!
Most Impactful Rebels for 2019
23. Bryce Mathews
24. Royce Newman
25. Tylan Knight
26. Tariqious Tisdale
27. Octavious Cooley
28. Jalen Julius
29. Luke Logan
30. Nick Broeker
31. Austrian Robinson
32. Quentin Bivens
33. Willie Hibbler
34. Isaiah Woullard
35. Jadon Jackson
36. Grant Tisdale, Kinkead Dent, John Rhys Plumlee
37. Keidron Smith
38. Snoop Conner
39. Michael Howard
40. Vernon Dasher
41. Ryder Anderson
42. D’Vaughn Pennamon
43. C.J. Miller
44. Charles Wiley
45. Sincere David
46. Mac Brown
47. Jason Pellerin
48. Chandler Tuitt
49. Dannis Jackson
50. Jonathan Mingo