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Payton Matthews commits to the Owls

Rice Football's 2025 recruiting class just signed another key offensive player. Versatile athlete Payton Matthews has joined the Owls.

At its core, recruiting is about finding the most talented athletes. Once they're on campus, coaches must put the pieces together in the best possible way. The 2025 recruiting class has fully embraced that philosophy with its newest addition, by getting a commitment for a star athlete and leaving the exact position he'll play open. Athlete Payton Matthews has chosen to join the Owls.

Matthews' ability to do many different things all over the field is one of the reasons he chose the Owls' system of play. “I've always moved from position to position,” Matthews told The Roost. “I think [the Rice coaching staff] can use my playing skills all over the field.”

Over time, Matthews chose Rice despite offers from UTSA, Navy, Air Force, Central Michigan and others.

Early indications are that he will start as a wide receiver, with the understanding that he will not be a stagnant part of the offense. Matthews said his conversations with the staff have emphasized that versatility. “I'm supposed to be all over the field, and that's one of the things I love the most,” he said.

The signing of Matthews further strengthens the offensive potential of the 2025 class, which includes several tight ends, two running backs and several receivers, most of whom have committed in the last two weeks.

Premium: Rice Football Recruiting and Commitment Tracker

Matthews is a flash on film. His explosiveness and elusive nature make him a home run threat whenever he gets his hands on the football. How that happens remains to be seen, but he's the kind of playmaker you want on the field wherever possible.

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