"This has been tough for Reuben," Tray Matthews said after his official visit to Georgia over the weekend. "We've talked every day lately... Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday when I was at Georgia. I just told him that I had his back, and that I know it hurt him. Coach Taylor was like a father figure to him."
Matthews, who will enroll at Georgia on January 6th, said he knows how torn a recruit – even a committed recruit – can get over colleges.
"Its tough with all of the other coaches grabbing at you telling you to go there," he said. "But you have to stay with your heart. I know that had I committed to Auburn I would have de-committed (after the Chizik firing), too."
But Matthews' future will be in Athens, not Auburn, and he got a better glimpse into his future after his weekend visit.
"Going to Coach Richt's house was crazy Friday night," he said. "That was a humbling experience. It is crazy that I set foot in a mansion – that's the first time I've been a mansion. That experience made me want to work even more."
Matthew said he got feedback that hard work was required in order to have success at the college level from Georgia's breakout true freshmen running back Todd Gurley.
"Gurley told me that some folks get the big head, and that they don't work hard once they get to college," Matthews said. "But he told me that you can't just come up here and not work. He told me that he's heard a lot about me, but that I will have to continue to work."
Gurley told Matthews he was surprised how big the future Bulldog was.
"I was like: 'I'm big? Look at you,'" Matthew said with a laugh.
Then the duo got into a conversation about the near future, and the reality that they will likely be on the opposite side from one another in practice.
"I've got to tackle him sometime in practice," Matthew said with a quiet laugh. "I told him that I'm not going to be scared to hit him, but I am going to get my weight up a little bit more so I can pound him."
That part remains to be seen. Still, the Newnan native said he has always had a soft spot in his heart for Georgia and its fans.
"Guys like me and Brice, we wanted to show loyalty to the fans," he said of being committed since August of 2011. "We looked at other places, but I always missed Georgia. I loved it there."
But the mature Matthews says that he is not willing to push other players to play with him at Georgia – saying that those still considering other schools have to make the right decisions for themselves.
"I would understand if other guys go other places because I wanted to go where I wanted to go," he said. "But Georgia – with the coaching staff and fans – folks will make the right decision."
Matthews, who boasts a sizable Twitter audience usually eager to hear his recruiting insights, went on record saying the future would continue to be bright for the Bulldogs.
"The future in Athens will be amazing," he said. "It is going to be something to look forward to. It is going to resemble this past season, but a step forward. We are going to make another step forward to play for the national championship."