Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines, one of the Tigers' top NFL draft hopefuls, has watched film this week in search of anything he can exploit in star Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews, whom he'll likely spend plenty of time covering on Saturday when Missouri visits the Commodores.
He's found nothing.
Nobody else has, either. Matthews leads the SEC East with 586 receiving yards, and leads the entire league in catches per game (8). Gaines, however, has made a league-high three interceptions, and figures to give Matthews perhaps his stiffest challenge of the season. But Missouri coach Gary Pinkel isn't expecting miracles.
"They have one of the best wide receivers in the country," Pinkel said. "He's going to get his catches. You just have to contain him the best you can."
At 6-foot-3, Matthews will have a significant height advantage over Gaines, but the Tigers' cornerback is having an exceptional season, leading the team in tackles (26) and solo tackles (19). Early draft projections on Gaines (5-10, 195), a senior, have labeled him as a mid-round draft choice, while Matthews, also a senior, is expected to be chosen even earlier.
If Gaines becomes the first cornerback to shut Matthews down this season, it will bode well for his draft evaluation.