Merletti's Up to the Challenge

Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius High School senior Matt Merletti wanted a challenge on both the football field and in the classroom, and he accomplished that by faxing his letter of intent to the UNC coaching staff this morning around 9 a.m.

"I see the program doing very well in the future, and I wanted to be a part of that, and also to have a chance to get a great education," Merletti said.

The 5-foot-11 190-pound athlete attends a proud academic institution at St. Ignatius, and believes North Carolina will serve as another step up the scholastic ladder.

"I knew UNC had a lot of prestige," Merletti said. "You can pretty much write your own ticket when you get a degree from North Carolina. It's going to challenge me, and that's what I want."

As for the football field, Merletti is accustomed to playing stout competition in Cleveland. St. Ignatius head football coach Chuck Kyle has repeatedly scheduled tough out-of-conference games to help prepare his team for the playoffs each and every year.

"When you play the best competition around, and when you play well against certain teams, then that answers a lot of questions about your ability," Merletti said. "I think that really helped to prepare myself to get a scholarship and to go to college to play at that next level of competition."

The UNC coaching staff has indicated that the Cleveland native could end up playing running back, wide receiver or defensive back for the Tar Heels.

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, but still ended up being named to the AP All-Northeast Lakes District First Team.

Merletti plans to major in criminal justice, and will enroll at UNC for the second summer session, beginning on June 21st.

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