If Broadneck's Martel Threadgill attains the tall order his dad gave him before the start of the football season, he will become Anne Arundel County's first 2,000-yard rusher for a season and the county's all-time career rusher.
"My dad won't be able to see all of my games this year so he asked me to run for 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns for him," said Threadgill.
"Those are my goals, but they are personal goals," said the strong, 5-foot-7, 175-pound back who does a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. "The most important thing is what is best for the team and our returning to the playoffs."
His father, Michael Sr., is a project manager commuting this fall from Cape St. Claire to Denver. He and his wife Donna, who met at Hampton University, have attended Martel's games since he started as a 7-year-old on a 75-pound team at Cape St. Claire.
Dad was there when 10-year-old Martel ran 95 yards from scrimmage for the only touchdown in the county 95-pound youth league championship.
Threadgill, a two-year team captain, is the second four-year varsity football player at Broadneck, which at 3-0 is ranked ninth in metropolitan Baltimore.
"He's just a great kid, respected by his peers and teachers," said Broadneck coach Jeff Herrick.
Through his first three games this season, Threadgill has 576 yards on 64 carries (9.0 average) and has scored eight touchdowns.
Projecting his average 192 yards a game, he would finish with 1,920 yards, topping the county one-season record of 1,862 Meade's Tanardo Sharps set last fall.
Sharps' career-rushing record of 3,627 yards also could be in jeopardy. Through his first three games, Threadgill has 2,661 yards, placing him fifth on the county all-time list.
Threadgill's 240 yards in the Bruins' season-opening, 39-7 romp over Old Mill, was 3 yards shy of the school record he set against South River last year. That game had broken his own previous school record (230) set as a sophomore against Dundalk -- when his four touchdowns also became Broadneck's single-game record.
By averaging 2.7 touchdowns a game, he would finish with 27 and tie Severn's John Vereen for the county season record. Vereen, now at Navy, scored 27 in 1994.
Threadgill also has a school-record 30 career touchdowns, although eight players are ahead of him on the county all-time list, topped by Severn's Dennard Melton with 65. Still, if Threadgill scores 30 touchdowns this season, giving him 52, he would be second only to Melton.
Threadgill reminds his coach of Arundel's Troy Turner, whose 3,224 yards rank fourth on the career rushing list.
"Troy was the best I've ever seen anywhere at the high school level," said Herrick, in his 10th season at Broadneck but an Arundel assistant when Turner played.
"When they [Troy and Martel] get into a hole, they put it another gear and explode out. Troy was a little more fluid, but Martel may be a little quicker."
Threadgill played in the same backfield with his older brother Michael as a freshman and has improved every season. His All-County junior season last fall saw him become the school's first 1,000-yard rusher with 1,050 in 11 games in leading the Bruins to their first playoff berth.
"Last year, he was more or less a straight-ahead runner, but during the summer, he worked hard on planting a foot and cutting laterally," said Herrick.
Threadgill, who bench-pressed 285 pounds at the University of Maryland combine last summer and has squatted 405 pounds, admittedly prefers running inside. He favors dive plays, left or right.
"I think I have the potential to be a good college running back," said Threadgill, who loves math and has a 3.2 grade-point average and 940 SAT score. He is retaking the SAT, hoping for a higher score he knows will make him more attractive to schools that have contacted him, including Army, Navy and Richmond.
For now, Threadgill said he is concentrating on leading what is "the closest team" he has ever played on back to postseason.
And he is aware that if he achieves his personal goals, the Bruins are likely to be there and just maybe get to the Class 3A state title game.
The rushing picture
After his first three 1998 games, here's where Broadneck's Martel Threadgill stands in terms of other memorable county rushers:
Top 5 career rushing marks
Player, School, Years, Yards
1. Tanardo Sharps, Meade, 1996-97, 3,627
2. Kenny Walker, Meade, 1990-93, 3,360
3. John Vereen, Severn, 1992-94, 3,342
4. Troy Turner, Arundel, 1983-85, 3,224
5. Martel Threadgill, Broadneck, 1995-98, 2,661
Top single-season rushers (Threadgill has 576 in three games) 1. Tanardo Sharps, Meade, 1997, 1,862
2. Gary Thall, Severna Park, 1964, 1,835
3. Tanardo Sharps, Meade, 1996, 1,765
4. John Vereen, Severn, 1994, 1,702
5. Roman Harrison, Meade, 1995, 1,676
Pub Date: 9/25/98