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Michigan State football lands talented Old Dominion LB transfer

Jonathan Smith, ladies and gentlemen.



Michigan State football
© Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State football has landed yet another quality transfer. This time, it’s in the form of a talented Old Dominion linebacker.

Jonathan Smith once again is making huge moves via the transfer portal. This time it’s linebacker Wayne Matthews III from Old Dominion that has committed to Michigan State football.

Who is Wayne Matthews?

As mentioned, Matthews is a transfer linebacker from Old Dominion. Out of high school, he was only a two-star recruit and the No. 321 linebacker in his class. He, however, has had a much larger impact than you might guess for a two-star.

Matthews’ has spent three years at Old Dominion so far in his career. He did not see the field much his first two seasons and only accumulated 14 tackles and one forced fumble in those two seasons combined. This past season, Matthews really ramped up his production.

In 2023, he accounting for a whopping 135 total tackles with 39 of them being solo tackles. That’s an average of 10.4 tackles per game. He also recorded 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery this season as well.

Matthews really increased his production towards the end of the season as well. He recorded double digit tackles in five of his last six games, including 16 and 14 in his final two games. His best game by far this season came in their bowl game against Western Kentucky where he finished with 14 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

Matthews fit at MSU

Matthews should be a great fit with Michigan State. I’m not sure if he’ll be a starter, but he is definitely someone you will find in the two-deep who will get significant playing time. At worst, Matthews will be a solid depth piece to our team which is something we have been lacking in recent years.

How important is improved depth to the roster, though? The obvious reason is in case of injury. If the linebacker room sees a few injuries this year we know Matthews is someone who can step up and fill in for a starter if he’s not already one. Having more depth also improves practice as well. These guys will be able to compete harder and push each other more in practice, which only makes everyone better.

This is a huge commitment for Smith and MSU. It’s going to take time to turn this roster around, but Smith is doing an excellent job so far.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.


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