Vanderbilt's Matthews outdoes himself in latest record-setting performance

It’s not that Jordan Matthews ran out of records to set Saturday. Rather than simply break someone else’s – as he has done so often this fall – he also broke one of his own.

With his second reception in Vanderbilt’s 23-21 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday, the senior wide receiver topped Keith Edwards’ 97 and became the single-season reception leader for both Vanderbilt and the Southeastern Conference.

With his last, a 25-yard gain on fourth-and-11 that set up Carey Spear’s game-winning field goal, he topped his own school mark for receiving yards in a season. With a bowl game remaining he has 1,334 receiving yards, 11 more than he had a year ago.

At this point, most of his numbers stack up higher than any receiver in SEC history. However, not one to get caught up in – or create – his own hype, he is unwilling to declare himself the best.

“It’d be cool to be thought of like that,” he said. “I think it will just be a blessing to just be in the discussion. There’s a lot of great receivers that have come through this league. Then I wouldn’t want to take all the credit because then I’ve had a lot of guys help me get this far. As long as I’m in the discussion that would be cool.”

Matthews holds school and conference records for receptions in a season, career receptions and career receiving yards. This season he leads the SEC in receptions and is second in receiving yards. His 107 catches account for 45.1 percent of the Commodores’ total.

Clearly, his career records are a product of the fact that he elected to return for his senior season unlike other notable recent SEC players such as Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones and LSU’s Josh Reed. Even Earl Bennett, arguably Vanderbilt’s best before Matthews, opted not to exhaust all of  his college eligibility.

“Last year we signed a really good recruiting class but the best recruit we got was keeping Jordan Matthews home and him [being] able to graduate in three and a half years with an economics degree,” coach James Franklin said. “That’s all part of it. Jordan coming back was obviously very good for us but I’d also make the argument it’s been very, very good for Jordan – and it will be in the long-term.”

Matthews’ 22 career touchdown receptions are a Vanderbilt record but leave him just outside the top 20 in the SEC and it is highly unlikely he will get even the school’s mark for touchdown receptions in a season. He has five this season, three shy of his career-high from last season and nine away from the mark Allama Matthews (no relation) established in 1982.

Still, none of that diminishes what he has accomplished or the records he has set.

“What Jordan does is not a mistake,” quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels said. “It’s not a coincidence. And it’s not luck. He puts forth the most time I’ve ever seen anybody put into it. Even that boulder analogy right there – it’s ridiculous. The guy just has a different head about him and I really look up to him.”

So does most everyone – statistically speaking, of course – who ever caught a pass for Vanderbilt or any other SEC program.