High School is often a joyous and challenging experience.
From hanging out with friends every day, playing sports, and creating memories that will last forever, it can be difficult for a high school student to stay focused on the future.
However, C.B. Aycock’s Clay Matthews has never been more focused on the future.
A star student-athlete, Matthews works hard on the field to make his athletic dreams come true. But more importantly, off the field, he is a father.
Every day when Matthews comes home, he wraps his arms around his daughter, Leighton Brie Matthews.
And having a daughter has made Mathews intensely focused on the future.
“It’s definitely a type of focus, and it makes you hungrier,” Matthews said. “You train and train and work your butt off, and I’m going to make it far for her.”
On Thursday, Matthews remained focused on his future by signing a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Mount Olive.
Matthews is following in the footsteps of his father, Brad, who played at UMO in the 1990s.
And Matthews is excited to continue the family tradition.
“It feels great, and there’s a lot of things off my shoulders. It’s just great that I’m signed and officially a Trojan,” Matthews said. “The coronavirus ruined a lot of recruiting, and it led me to UMO. I hear a lot of great things about that program and how well they do things there.
“I think it’s the right place for me.”
Matthews lost out on his junior season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is excited to have his senior and to add more amazing stats to his resume.
In three seasons, Matthews posted a .312 batting average, .439 on-base percentage, 31 runs scored, 30 RBIs, seven doubles and three triples.
Matthews also spent the last few summers playing for Wayne County Post 11.
“It’s great because all the coaches I’ve had are amazing, and it was fun playing with all of my teammates,” Matthews said. “Now going to Mount Olive. Hopefully, it’s as fun as Aycock and Post 11.”
A soft-spoken and charismatic leader, Matthews looks forward to running alongside other student-athletes at one of the nation’s most-respected Division II baseball programs next year.
Matthews does not feel intimidated because he remembers that he worked his way from the back to the front in high school, and he can do the same at UMO.
Matthews has the determination and the focus to succeed at UMO because he is willing to accept and overcome difficult situations.
“I’m super, super happy for him. He’s been a four-year starter for us, and to watch him grow and mature and become a man who’s committed to Mount Olive is amazing,” C.B. Aycock head coach Allen Thomas said. “He’s got the talent, so he’s going to be fine, but the way he’s grown up and become a man off the field, you’re proud to see that as a coach.”