Son of former NFL player Don Mattingly, Danny Mattingly has all the tools to play as a freshman at the University of Oregon. He has speed, size and tenacity, three key attributes that you look for in any defensive product. At 6’5″, 225 pounds, the Spokane, Washington native is projected to play outside linebacker and should garner early playing time after summer and fall camps under his belt.
Mattingly jumps out on film; he is simply superior to the other high school players on the field. He flies through the line, whether touched or untouched, and is clearly impossible for a single 18-year-old kid to guard. He displays a great initial burst that promises to strike fear in opposing offenses in and out of the confines of Autzen Stadium. His no-fear attitude is visible every time he hits someone – no one hits the turf without a thud when tackled by Mattingly. He finishes plays and never takes a break from first whistle to last.
Mattingly is one of a few linebackers coming in who should receive playing time. With the loss of Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, junior college early enrollee Joe Walker should also get a look due to his readiness at the position, but don’t count Mattingly out. His sheer athleticism combined with his refusal to stop running should give him an edge that other freshman – whatever position – just don’t have. I fully expect the coaches to play Danny Mattingly next year in hopes of making him a starter by his true sophomore year.