Merletti Commits to UNC

Before closing out his official visit with North Carolina over the weekend, Matt Merletti gave Butch Davis the first verbal commitment of his UNC career.

"Right when he offered me, I told [Coach Davis] I was committed." said Merletti. "Right before I left on Sunday, I had a meeting with [Davis] and he offered me and I committed on the spot."

Merletti, a 5-foot-11 190-pound athlete from Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius, couldn't seem to find a thing wrong with choosing North Carolina.

"First of all, I love the school; the academics were great and everything," said Merletti. "And I envision this program doing great things in the future, and I'd love to play for Coach Davis."

During his Chapel Hill stay, Merletti, who was hosted by Ryan Taylor, was also impressed by the facilities.

"The facilities were beautiful, I haven't seen better facilities at any college," said Merletti. "I just loved it, everything about it - the location, the weather, and everything."

Merletti's teammate, Patrick Hennessey, joined him on the official visit. While Hennessey didn't commit during the trip, he could be close.

"I think the odds are pretty good that he commits," said Merletti.

The only other school to extend Merletti a scholarship offer was Navy, but he received interest from Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, Ohio State, and West Virginia.

Firm in his pledge, Merletti has completely closed his recruitment.

"No [I'm not going to visit any other school], I'm going to North Carolina," said Merletti.

For St. Ignatius, Merletti starred at tailback and defensive, but is being recruited for tailback by the Tar Heels' coaching staff.

"They said either running back, wide receiver, or some kind of defensive back," said Merletti. "I don't have a preference; I just want to help the team win."

Merletti rushed for 1,123 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He had more than 900 yards through the first six games, before being slowed by an injury. Merletti was named to the AP All-Northeast Lakes District First Team.

"Both offensively and defensively this year he's made some major plays," said St. Ignatius head football coach Chuck Kyle. "He averaged over five yards-per-carry [at tailback]. He's very good out of the backfield catching the football – he was one of our leading receivers.

"One-on-one he's really tough as far making cuts and breaking away – he gives you that [LaDainian] Tomlinson thing. He's only 5-foot-11, but he makes great cuts and has good speed. He's been clocked at under 4.5 [seconds in the 40-yard dash]."

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