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Iowa State a little like home for Cougar

Linebacker makes his call

By JOE SMITH
Published January 23, 2007


From the get-go, Countryside star linebacker A.J. Matthews and Iowa State coach Gene Chizik shared a connection.

Chizik, a former Clearwater High star, told the senior his mother, Rita, lives down the street from Matthews' home on Bell-Cheer Drive.

Matthews felt at home at ISU's campus last weekend and orally committed to play for the Cyclones.

Chizik plans to make a home visit to Matthews - and probably his mom - on Wednesday.

"It's a real nice place; I liked it a lot," Matthews said. "The weather was a bit cold, but I'll get used to that."

Matthews, who had 107 tackles, six sacks and 16 tackles for loss this past season, said he'll play outside linebacker at ISU - and may play soon.

ISU lost its second-leading tackler, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, earlier this month when the sophomore decided to transfer to USF.

"I have a good chance of starting and playing," Matthews said. "They only have one returning linebacker and the rest of them are freshman, so I'm looking forward to it."

COMING UP: Lakewood star receiver Ronnie Lane plans to visit Charleston Southern this weekend. ...Pinellas Park all-purpose player Dominic Bell said he'll visit Middle Tennessee.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or at 727 893-8129.