A West High graduate, Mathews had a 7-year NFL career as a running back with the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles. He finished his career with 5,261 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns. He added 179 receptions for 1,371 yards and three touchdowns.He was drafted in the first round (No. 12 overall pick) with San Diego in 2010 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
Born in Riverside, Mathews' father left before he was born and he and his mother moved to Tehachapi when he was very young. The family moved to Bakersfield after he graduated from junior high school so he would face tougher athletic competition.
As a senior at West, Mathews led the nation with 3,396 rushing yards (9.97 yards per attempt) and 44 touchdowns as a running back, and added 851 passing yards and 11 touchdowns as a quarterback. After his senior season, he was named first team All-State and a second team All-American.
Mathews had given a preview of what was to come in the final game of his junior season, the Central Section Div. II championship game against top-seeded Tulare.
He had 21 rushes for 245 yards and six touchdowns in the Vikings' 53-28 win after the team's rushing leader Princeton McCarty was unable to play because of a first-quarter injury.
After choosing Fresno State, Mathews rushed for 866 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman, leading all freshmen in the nation in those two categories. He had 606 yards and eight touchdowns in an injury-marred sophomore year, then had 1,808 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, leading all college rushers with a 150.67 per game average. He decided to forgo his senior year to join the NFL.
Mathews had 1,091 yards and six touchdowns in his Pro Bowl season, then had his best NFL season in 2013 when he finished with 1,255 yards and an NFL-best six 100-yard rushing games. Mathews battled injuries after that and concluded his NFL career after playing two seasons in Philadelphia.
He lives in the San Diego area and is the running backs coach at El Capitan High School in Lakeside.