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Vanderbilt's Matthews mentored by Chicago Bears' Bennett


Vanderbilt wide receiver and 2014 NFL Draft prospect Jordan Matthews is a distant cousin of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice. But in the absence of regular contact with Rice, the Commodores senior still has an NFL ear that can listen when necessary.

Former Vanderbilt receiver Earl Bennett, now on the Chicago Bears, has been something of a mentor for Matthews as he continues to establish himself as one of the most productive receivers in the history of the Southeastern Conference.

They were never teammates at Vanderbilt -- Bennett's last collegiate season was 2007, Matthews' first in 2010 -- but they stay in touch as if they were.

"I speak to Earl a lot," Matthews told the Tennessean. "We actually talked before camp, the middle of camp, and I think we texted a little bit at the start of the season. He'll text me and see how I'm doing. He'll encourage me before games. I think he texted me after the Ole Miss game. And then I'll talk to him a little bit, asking him about how his family is doing. So we have a really good relationship. I looked up to him a lot coming up as a kid."

Bennett posted an SEC-record 236 receptions at Vanderbilt, and Matthews is in pursuit of that mark, along with several others. His 2,758 career yards are 336 short of Terrence Edwards' SEC record of 3,093, set at Georgia in 2002.

Matthews is ranked the No. 58 senior NFL draft prospect in the country by NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt. Four NFL scouts, three of whom work for clubs currently ranked 22nd or worse in pass offense, got a close look at Matthews last week in Vandy's win over UMass.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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