Two-Way Star May Be One Of 2005's Best

This football prospect form nearby Columbus, Georiga may be one of the South's best in 2005.

Columbus, Ga.--There are quite a few college football prospects that will be hitting the gridiron this fall in Columbus, Georgia. However, Pacelli High School's Matt Dunham may be the best of the bunch and could be one of the top prospects in the south for 2005.

The 6-3, 218-pound two-way star with 4.5 speed has done it all for the Pacelli Vikings over the last three years. As a tailback Dunham holds the Vikings' all-time rushing record with more than 4,300 yards rushing. He has also already scored 74 touchdowns in his career.

Pacelli Coach Kevin Pettis says that there is absolutely no doubt that Dunham is a special type of athlete. "He is the best football player that I have ever been associated with," Pettis says. "He is the best one I have ever seen put on pads. He brings so much to the table whether it is on offense or defense. The kid just has a motor and most peoples motor doesn't run on that level."

Last season as a junior, Dunham carried the ball 121 times for 1,620 yards, which is a 13.3 yards per carry average, and he scored 28 touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 87 yards and returned two punts for touchdowns and those are just his offensive statistics.

On defense Dunham plays safety, which along with linebacker are the two positions college coaches are most interested in playing him if they get that opportunity. Last season the junior racked up 111 tackles and intercepted six passes, four of which he took the other direction for touchdowns.

Matt Dunham

"He is not a real loud type of kid," Pettis explains about Dunham's leadership role. "He is very mild mannered, but he just brings that type of confidence that you need on the football field and man he can bring that. He brings the wood with him when he comes."

With the type of ability he has already shown Dunham is likely going to be a big recruiting target in 2005 and he says he is already hearing from some big time programs. "I have heard from Maryland, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Penn State and Michigan," he notes.

Another thing the athlete has going for him are some great bloodlines. Dunham's father Cliff was the first African-American player to play in the Big Eight at the University of Colorado and all of his brothers have played college football. That includes his brother Cliff, who signed with South Carolina last season and was placed at Butler County Community College.

Like most talented athletes Dunham competes in more than just football. "I play baseball and basketball," he says. "In baseball I play right field and in basketball I play the three (small forward). Last year I had the highest batting average on the team in baseball."

With no real favorites in the race for his services, Dunham says that there are a few key factors that will decide where he ends up playing on Saturdays. "If there is a good environment where I am going, great education and how much playing time would I get," explains the Pacelli star, who stopped by Jordan-Hare Stadium last Saturday to check out Auburn's spring football game.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories