Vols High on The Matrix

If you were entertained by the special effects in the film "The Matrix" you'll be dazzled by game film of Bolingbrook, Ill., running back Dale "The Matrix" Martin, who is ranked No. 18 at his position nationally by Scout.com.

Martin is taking his senior season by storm, rushing for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns through six games, after gaining 1,100 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns during his 9-3 junior campaign.

"Right now we're five and one," he said of the Raiders' record this fall. "We lost to Lincolnway East, the No. 1 team in the state and ninth in the country. It was close though. We lost 22-14. We're doing pretty good. We've already clinched a playoff berth."

Lincolnway East's defense had allowed a total of minus 50 yards on the ground coming into contest against the Raiders, but Martin rushed for 80 yards and nearly pulled off the play of the game before an equipment malfunction negated his effort.

"There was a couple of minutes left in the game and I made like an 80-yard run," Martin said of the desperate dash that would have doubled his yardage total and potentially tied the game. "My helmet came off in about the middle of the run. I ran over this DB and he ripped my helmet off and it went flying. I just kept on running without it but they called it back. We were down where we could have scored and maybe won the game, but they called it back and said I couldn't run without my helmet."

With 4.45 speed and other worldly moves the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Martin can run the ball on any opponent. He has exceptional vision and supreme acceleration. His array of open field spin moves and acrobatic contortions often leave defenders grasping at air and earned him The Matrix nickname.

An outstanding athlete Martin gave up basketball last season to concentrate on strength training. He currently squats 535 pounds and bench presses a respectable 250. His dedication in the weight room has paid major dividends on the football field this season.

In the opener against Rock Island he ran 18 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns. In a 23-20 victory over Homewood Slossmore he had 235 yards and two touchdowns. Martin was supposed to sit out game 4 due to an assortment of nagging injuries that had reduced his practice time and kept him in the training room.

However once the Friday night lights were turned on so was Dale Martin, who ran the ball 17 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-0 victory. Of course, such dramatic performances are nothing new to The Matrix. In his first career start as a sophomore he rushed for 220 yards and two TDs on only 10 carries.

"I'm getting up close to our school rushing record," said Martin who describes himself as shifty. "I know we've had a lot of good D-I running backs at our school who have gone to a lot of places. So I'm not exactly sure what the records are, but I know I'm getting close."

Martin is not nearly as close to committing to a college, but Tennessee is at the top of his list and a visit is in the works.

"Actually I just talked to Coach (Greg) Atkins earlier today," he said in an interview with IT last night. "We definitely have a good relationship. He text messages me a lot, wanting me to call him and get me down there. It's kind of hard with me being so far but I'm definitely going to start looking that way when I take my official visits. It's not even just Coach Atkins. Coach Roper and a lot of the other coaches they text me to see how everything is going. They've done a good job of making me feel wanted. We're talking about trying to set up a visit. I'm going to start doing stuff like that. It's probably going to be after the season."

Although he has yet to see a Tennessee game in person, he has been monitoring the Vols' progress.

"I've watched them a couple of times on TV," he said. "They've had some games at night I've been able to catch them. I'm going to watch them play Georgia this week."

Martin, who has a 2.6 GPA and a 19 on his ACT, is also considering offers from Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina State and Louisville.

Editor's Note: A longer feature on Dale Martin will run in the next issue of Rocky Top News. Remember: if you're not getting the magazine, you're only getting half the story.

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