UNC vaults to top of Martin's list

<I>IC</I> checks in with linebacker James Martin, one of four Pompano (Fla.) Ely High players that took official visits to Chapel Hill two weeks ago.

James Martin said he was impressed with Chapel Hill and what the North Carolina football program has to offer.

Martin, who took his second official visit to UNC to witness the Tar Heels 59-7 loss to Maryland, said he has a clear favorite but doesn't plan to announce where he is going until close to signing day.

"North Carolina is a good school and I put them at the top of my list," Martin said. "That is my favorite right now."

Martin also took an official visit to Michigan State but quickly dropped the Spartans from his list of favorites.

"I didn't really like it there because they didn't show me anything."

The 6-2, 225 pound linebacker's remaining top five include N.C. State, Miami, Penn State and Ohio State.

Clint Session, another North Carolina recruit and Martin's cousin, is also high on North Carolina.

"We might be a little package deal," Martin said. "We liked it a lot – it's all that we have been talking about since we got back."

Martin said he didn't know what the odds of North Carolina landing all four Ely High recruits.

"It's a possibility that all four if us will come, but I would say me and Clint (Session) are the best bets to come."

One thing that impressed Martin was the Old Well walk leading up to the game.

"The day of the game as we were walking down they had signs that said ‘We Want You' and a lot of people were looking for us," Martin said. "We all walked with the team to the game, it felt almost like we were part of the team that day."

Martin said he also enjoyed getting to talk with North Carolina coach John Bunting.

"I think he is a very nice guy. He seemed like he was telling us the truth about the school. I saw that they could use my help as I was watching the game. He told me where I would probably play and that I would have a chance to start next year."

Ely coach Steve Davis said Martin would likely play outside linebacker in college.

"His speed and his first step off the ball are excellent," Davis said. "He liked it (UNC) a lot more than his trip to Michigan State."

Davis said that Purdue, Missouri and Rutgers are also recruiting Martin.

Martin's parents are happy with UNC but want their son to see other programs before making a decision.

"They [parents] said it would be a good move to go there (North Carolina), but we are still going to wait it out. They are going to want to see the coaches and stuff when they come down to visit too."

The bottom line is that Martin feels at home in Chapel Hill.

"The town I live in is a little bigger than Chapel Hill, but the people are basically the same. It felt like home to me."

Martin said North Carolina calls each week to check on the progress of him and his three teammates – Tyrone Moss, Session and Cyrim Wimbs.

"Pretty much all of them (coaches) call every week. They called the night I got back to make sure I had a good trip and stuff."

Ely bounced back from its first loss of the season two weeks ago with a 54-16 win against rival Dillard in a game dubbed "the Soul Bowl" this past Friday. Martin said Ely (9-1) starts the 5A Florida state playoffs this week.

Heading into the playoffs Martin has 18 sacks, 68 tackles (39 solo), five forced fumbles, three tipped passes and 13 quarterback hurries. He also returned one fumble recovery 29 yards for a touchdown.

James Martin Stats:
Bench 355
Squat 485
40 time 4.47 at Nike Camp (at Miami)

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