Ryan Mathews
Ryan Mathews during the 2011 NFL season.
No. 24     San Diego Chargers
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-10-10) October 10, 1987 (age 32)
Place of birth: Riverside, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College: Fresno State
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Debuted in 2010 for the San Diego Chargers
Career history
* San Diego Chargers ( 2010–present)
Roster status: Injured reserve
Career highlights and awards
* Pro Bowl (2011)
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Rushing yards     2,476
Average     4.4
Rushing TDs     14
Receptions     111
Receiving yards     852
Receiving TDs     0
Stats at

Ryan Jefforey Mathews (born October 10, 1987) is an American football running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Fresno State, where he was a second team All-American his junior year. He skipped his senior year and declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, and he was selected in the first round by the Chargers with the 12th overall pick. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl after the 2011 season.

Early yearsEdit

Mathews was born in Riverside, California to Tricia Mathews when she was 16. His father left before he was even born and has only seen him a few times in his life. For the first four months of his life, Mathews and his mother lived out of her 1969 Oldsmobile.[1]

As a child, he and his mother moved to Tehachapi, a small city 35 miles southeast of Bakersfield, to be closer to family. Once there, she took on several jobs to provide a decent life for her son.

He began playing football at age five,[2] and Tricia never missed a game.[3]

After junior high, he moved back to Bakersfield to face tougher athletic competition.[4]

High schoolEdit

Mathews attended West High School in Bakersfield, California. He played running back, quarterback, and linebacker.

As a junior, he led West High to a CIF championship while rushing for 1,104 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and totaling 97 tackles and 16 sacks on defense. Following the season, he was an All-State underclass selection.[5]

As a senior, Mathews led the nation with 3,396 rushing yards (9.97 yards per attempt) and 44 touchdowns as a running back, along with 851 passing yards and 11 touchdowns as a quarterback.[6] After his senior season, he was named first team All-State and a second team All-American.[7]

Many Pac-10 and Big 12 schools, who had interest in him, backed away because of fears he would not be academically eligible. Fresno State remained in the recruiting scene and eventually Mathews signed with them.[6]

College careerEdit

Mathews attended California State University, Fresno from 2007 to 2010. As a freshman in 2007, Mathews rushed for 866 yards on 145 carries and scored 14 touchdowns. His rushing yard average and touchdowns led all NCAA freshman.

As a sophomore in 2008, he ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in rushing yards and touchdowns after four games. In the fourth game against UCLA, he ran for 166 yards and scored two touchdowns before leaving with a knee injury. After the injury, he missed most of the next three games and sat out the final five. He finished the season with 606 yards on 113 carries and 8 touchdowns.[8]

As a junior in 2009, Mathews led college football in rushing with an average of 150.67 yards per game in 12 games.[6] He totaled 1,808 yards on 276 carries and 19 touchdowns. He missed one game due to a concussion.[9]

Following the regular season, he was given numerous individual awards, including being named first team all-WAC[10] and a second team All-American by CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, and the Associated Press.[11][12][13]

In December, Mathews decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.[14] His 1,808 yards rushing ranks him behind only LaDainian Tomlinson and George Jones in the WAC season record books.[7]

Professional careerEdit

2010 NFL DraftEdit

Mathews was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. He is the third highest Fresno State Bulldog to be drafted since David Carr went 1st overall in the 2002 NFL Draft and Trent Dilfer went 6th overall in the 1994 NFL Draft.

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 0 in 218 lb 4.45 s 4.33 s 6.75 s 36 in 10 ft 1 in 19 rep 16

San Diego ChargersEdit

On August 1, 2010, Mathews signed a five-year, $26.65 million contract with the Chargers. The deal includes $15 million guaranteed.[18] Mathews struggled during his rookie season, but has received praise for his improved play as a 2nd-year running back.[19] He finished with 1,091 rushing yards and six touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate for Ray Rice.[20]

2012 SeasonEdit

On August 9, 2012, Mathews broke his right clavicle on his first carry in the first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He was expected to be out for 4-6 weeks.[21]

On September 23, 2012, Mathews returned from his collarbone injury in week 3 of the regular season.[22] In the 27-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Mathews made his season debut and rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries and caught 5 passes for 32 yards. However, he had a fumble inside the Falcons' 5-yard line. [23][24] In the following game against Kansas City, Jackie Battle started instead of Mathews. Battle was in 27 plays compared to Mathews' 21, with most of Mathews work in the fourth quarter when San Diego's victory was mostly already decided. U-T San Diego wrote that Mathews would have been expected to start were it not for his fumble against Atlanta.[25]

On December 16, 2012, in a game versus the Carolina Panthers, Mathews broke his left clavicle and was placed on season-ending injured reserve for the remainder of the 2012 season.[26]


His mother is Tricia Mathews and he has four brothers. He grew up as a fan of the San Diego Chargers since childhood and is a fan of LaDainian Tomlinson, particularly because of his running style. He wore No. 21 at Fresno State in his honor.[8]

He is also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.

In 2012, Mathews was involved in a car accident, but sustained minor injuries.[27]


  1. ESPN E:60, aired 11/18/2010
  2. Countdown to kickoff: 4 days
  3. For Mathews and mother, a long, arduous journey
  4. Ryan Mathews College Profile
  5. Ryan Mathews High School Profile
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Overlooked Mathews ready to claim respect he deserves
  7. 7.0 7.1 Draft Profile
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Ryan Mathews - Fresno State Official Athletic Site". Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  9. Mathews out vs. Louisiana Tech
  10. Boise State leads All-WAC team selections
  11. 2009 All-America Team
  12.'s 2009 All-Americans
  13. 2009 Associated Press All-America Team
  14. Sources: Fresno State tailback to go pro
  15. "Ryan Mathews Combine Profile",,, retrieved April 22, 2010.
  16. "Ryan Mathews 2010 NFL Combine Results",,, retrieved April 22, 2010.
  18. "Chargers sign 12th overall pick RB Ryan Mathews". USA Today. August 1, 2010.
  19. Alexander, Jim (October 8, 2011) "Chargers' Ryan Mathews settling in," The Press Enterprise,
  20. Williamson, Bill (January 23, 2011). "Two Chargers added to Pro Bowl team". Archived from the original on January 25, 2012.
  21. "San Diego Chargers' Ryan Mathews breaks collarbone, out 4-6 weeks". August 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  22. "Matt Ryan shines as Falcons defense shuts down Chargers". September 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  23. "Matt Ryan shines as Falcons defense shuts down Chargers". Associated Press. September 23, 2012. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012.
  24. "Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers - Box Score - September 23, 2012 - ESPN". September 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  25. Gehlken, Michael (October 1, 2012). "Chargers easing Ryan Mathews into action". U-T San Diego. Retrieved October 4, 2012. "If Mathews had not fumbled against the Falcons, it is expected the Pro Bowler would have started against the Chiefs."
  26. Hanzus, Dan (December 18, 2012). "Chargers place Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd on IR". Retrieved 2012-12-19.

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