Target 2004: Martel Thatch

GREENSBORO – Greensboro Dudley free safety Martel Thatch was good for 90 tackles, nine interceptions, two sacks and three forced fumbles, on a team that finished as runner-up for the 2002 NCHSSA state 3-A football championship.

Don't be surprised to see Thatch on the Tar Heels' early commitment list. And with a 3.0 grade point average in his core classes, he should not have any trouble qualifying academically.

"He could possibly be an All-American," Dudley head coach Victor Floyd said. "Now whether he reaches that point, I can't really say. I would hope he would.

Floyd coached starting Minnesota sophomore DB Johnathan Richmond three years ago, and he says that Richmond is "nowhere close to [Thatch]."

When you are a potential Division I defensive back like Thatch, making your commitment early is usually in your best interest. In many cases, recruiting coaches will hone in early on the athlete types, and leave room for a late lineman addition when signing day approaches.

Any wavering, and a prospect may miss out on a chance at the school of his ultimate choosing.

"I probably will commit early," said Thatch, who lists UNC, Wake, Virginia and Clemson as the schools he will likely select from.

"The thing that gives Martel an edge, is that he is a prototypical free safety," Floyd added. "He's big, he can run, he's athletic and he can jump. He possesses all of the tools you would look for in a big time free safety. He'll come down and hit you and he can play man coverage."

The Tar Heels have offered Thatch, just one of three Panthers Webster hopes to bring to Chapel Hill.

"[Webster] tells me they have a good program and are trying to get good players and students," Thatch said. "I like the atmosphere, I grew up liking UNC and it's not far from home."

Although neither Thatch, defensive tackle Demario Pressley nor running back Jamaal Edwards are going to publicly play their hand anytime soon; all three told Inside Carolina on Wednesday that they would like to remain teammates at the collegiate level.

"We really haven't talked about it, but I think if it came down to it we probably would," Thatch said. "I would like that."

"I could see that happening," Floyd added.

Martel Thatch
1st Position: Free Safety
Ht: 6-2
Wt: 180
40-Time: 4.4

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