Heels After Big-Time Fla. Prospect

Shortly after completing his transfer from Tampa (Fla.) Freedom to Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, Matt Patchan began to hear from North Carolina. The communication has ultimately resulted in yet another scholarship offer for the 6-foot-7, 260-pound lineman.

"[Chuck Pagano] texted me, and he let me know that they really liked my tape and that they were going to offer me," said Patchan. "I texted him back and we talked. He said he sent out the offer that day."

Patchan's father, Matt Sr., played offensive tackle for the University of Miami from 1983-87 before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Pagano, who served as graduate assistant at Miami in 1986, remembers Patchan's father from his first tenure with the Hurricanes.

"We talked about how he knows my dad," said Patchan. "We talk about that every now and then."

The Patchans also have a relationship with UNC's head football coach Butch Davis and think very highly of him.

"I think Coach [Butch] Davis is a great coach," said Patchan. "We've known him since he's been at Miami. We know that he really cleaned things up [at Miami] and that he can turn a program around. I think he has shown so far with [last season's] recruiting class that he's the man for the job there. So, we're excited to see where the program goes this season."

At last count, Patchan holds 54 scholarship offers. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisiana State, Miami, and Notre Dame highlight his collection.

About half of Patchan's scholarship offers are for defensive line, while the other half is for left tackle.

Schools desiring Patchan for defense are broken up even further. Some coaching staffs – like UGa.'s – want Patchan for tackle, while others – like LSU – hope to take advantage of his wingspan at end.

North Carolina is recruiting Patchan for left tackle – his father's position – and will allow him the chance to play both ways.

With so many options and so much to consider, Patchan doesn't claim any favorites.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down after spring so I can get a better understanding of colleges," said Patchan. "Hopefully I can get up to some schools and visit the campuses and talk to the coaches. That's all about scheduling and whether or not I can make it up there."

Patchan has already unofficially visited Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, and Mississippi.

Pagano is trying to include UNC among Patchan's travel plans, but proximity is working against his efforts.

During his travels, Patchan said he will focus on many things, but acknowledges that relationships will be one of the heaviest determining factors.

"I want to have a good relationship with my position and my strength coach – that's important to me," said Patchan. "And I want to be able to play both ways, eventually be in the hunt for a national championship, and have great talent around me."

Patchan played both ways for Freedom during his junior season and apparently played them well. He was named first team All-State for his play on the offensive line. Defensively, he accumulated 99 tackles including 26 for a loss and eight sacks. He also forced four fumbles and recovered four fumbles.

Despite his accomplishments, Freedom only went 6-5 and was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. After the season, Patchan decided to transfer.

"There were a bunch of reasons, and it was close to my house and my family we made a move," said Patchan. "It worked out great, because Armwood has great talent."

Just like at Freedom, Patchan expects to start both ways playing left tackle and defensive end.

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