PERSONAL — Born Matthew Alexander Harper on Nov. 26, 1984 in Secaucus, N.J. Parents: Willie and Roxane Harper. Family: Six brothers, two sisters. High School (Coach): Logan (Neal Fromson) 2003. Junior College (Coach): City College of San Francisco (George Rush) 2006. Major: Political Science.
OREGON — Waged a tight battle for a starting role in the spring prior to a teammate’s injury and now heads into the fall as the one to unseat. Was of immediate help after arriving in time for 2006 spring drills, with the stalwart offering a sense of maturity and a steadying influence uncommon with most transfers. Possesses the ability as a great competitor and a very good tackler who has a knack for making plays. Isn’t fl ashy in the manner that he carries himself yet could emerge to become the unsung leader of the secondary. Posting the second-best vertical leap (32.5 inches) among current defensive backs at the conclusion of the winter, his productivity far exceeds any comparison with a tape measure or stop watch.
2006 — Only the return of a veteran all-conference free safety prevented the newcomer from making a greater impact in his initial Division I campaign as he played in all 13 games on special teams and as one of the first defenders off the bench in multiple defensive back sets. Team’s fifth-leading tackler among the secondary credited with a single-game high four tackles at California while taking part in eight snaps. Also accumulated three of his five special teams stops in the finale vs. BYU. Logged a career-best 35 plays against Portland State.
JUNIOR COLLEGE/HIGH SCHOOL — The honorable mention All- American (J.C. Grid-Wire) was ranked among nation’s top 100 JC transfers by Rivals.com. Posted 95 tackles and seven interceptions (110 yds) a year ago to tie for fourth in the state in interceptions and garner first-team all-NorCal Conference and California Community College Football Coaches Association all-Region I attention. Also gathered one quarterback sack, one fumble recovery and forced three fumbles in 2005 to help the Rams finish with a 10-2 ledger following a 41-38 setback to Grossmont for the California state title. Also claimed first-team all-league honors as a prep senior, recording 60 tackles and four interceptions. Son of two-time Nebraska All- America defensive end (1970-71) and 11-year NFL veteran.