September 13, 2007

Matthews, Reaves take different paths to USC

Cliff Matthews and Joel Reaves are separated by a few years in age and vastly different level of expectations.

But they're connected by geography and one common goal: a spot at the top of the depth chart at their respective positions along the defensive front.

Matthews, a graduate of Cheraw (S.C.) High School, was one of the most celebrated members of the 2007 signing class. rated him as the No. 32 overall prospect and the No. 3 weak side defensive end in the nation.

Coaches and fans believe he has the size (6-foot-4, 239 pounds) and talent to become one of the top defensive ends in school history.

Reaves, a native of Marion, S.C., signed with USC in 2006 with far less notoriety. He made a major contribution to the Gamecocks' defense last season after transferring from junior college, but the opportunities to get on the field this year have been less frequent.

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