USC's Matua to visit Ravens

USC's Matua to visit Ravens

OWINGS MILLS -- USC offensive guard Fred Matua blocked for three Heisman Trophy award winners, creating pathways for Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Now, the junior all-conference lineman would like to extend his football career in the NFL, possibly with the Baltimore Ravens.

Matua, who visited the Ravens' training complex Sunday, is one of the fastest offensive linemen available in the upcoming NFL draft. At 6-foot-3 and 306 pounds, he ran the 40 yard dash in 5.06 and 4.98 seconds at the Trojans' Pro Day which was attended by Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta along with personnel from every NFL team.

"Hopefully, a lot of scouts will understand that I'm a fast guy," Matua said in a telephone interview. "If you look at tape, there have been a lot of bigger guys that I've gone against, guys who were 6-foot-6, 300-plus.

"The key for me has been to be quicker and beat them down quarter after quarter until they quit. I play this game with a mean streak. I never back off and I never quit. It's all about how much intensity you have inside you."

Projected as a third or fourth-round draft pick, Matua also has the capability to play center and act as a long snapper.
A native Polynesian, Matua plays the game at a high volume. He's known for screaming, celebrating and talking trash to opponents.

"Some people think that trash talking is left to the defensive guys, but if you're going against me you're not just physically going against me, but also mentally," Matua said. "They have to be ready when they get beat to hear what I have to say.
"It's not pleasant. This ain't no walk in the park. I'm coming out there to take some heads off."

Following the Trojans' Pro Day, Matua's stock has apparently risen on draft boards.

NFL draft analyst Gil Brandt, who used to run the Dallas Cowboys' personnel department during the Tom Landry era, said Matua makes a strong impression. "For a guy over 300 pounds to run a 40-yard dash in a theoretical time under five seconds, he made himself a lot of money and will shoot up draft boards," Brandt said.

Matua, who started as a true freshman before injuring his right knee, said he met with Ravens coach Brian Billick at the scouting combine.

Matua is the oldest son of five brothers and sisters, raised by a single parent. The sociology major is hoping for a long NFL career, lucrative enough to support his family.

"Beethoven knew how to play piano," Matua said. "I just know how to play football and I love it. I would love to play for Baltimore."

NOTES: Oregon defensive tackle and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Haloti Ngata will visit the Ravens today. … Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens will visit the Ravens today, according to his agent. Clemens is a potential second- or third-round draft pick. The three-year starter completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,406 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions in eight games last season before fracturing his ankle. Clemens has had individual workouts or visited the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. He's scheduled to work out for the New York Jets this week.. … Besides Matua, the Ravens are also interested in two other USC linemen: offensive tackle Winston Justice and offensive guard Taitusi Lutui. At 6-foot-3 and 334 pounds, Latui has also played right tackle.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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