The Illinois Football program recently picked up a commitment from 2015 Offensive Lineman Zeke Martin from Medina, OH, and his commitment was received with a lukewarm response on message boards throughout Illini Nation. It didn’t go unnoticed by the big man from Medina, and he had a message he wanted to make sure got relayed to the vocal portion of the fanbase that may be doubting his talent at this stage of his young career.
“I’ve seen some comments about me, like people think that I’m not going to be good enough you could say, that I’m under-rated right now, and I AM under-rated and I’ll tell them right now that they have no clue what I can do.” Martin went on to say, ” I have been under-rated, and that’s probably because I got into this recruiting process really late, but they should know that I’m coming to play for them, and that I’m going to bust my tail as hard as I can in the weight room, and on the field, and I’m going to bring everything and I’m coming in first day with a chip on my shoulder to let them know that I’m going to be playing as hard as I can for the Illini.”
Clearly, he’s taken it personally, and he’s out to prove the doubters wrong, but that’s ok by him because, “It fuels the fire!”
When Martin arrives at Illinois he said his most likely destination on the offensive line is guard or center, but there is a possibility he could end up at right tackle should the Illinois coaches need him there.
Normally, this would be the part of the post where I link to the video and then post my thoughts on what I feel like Martin will bring to the Illini, but Martin felt like relying on his tape to form an opinion really does him an injustice.
Martin said, “Well, my tape last year the first game of the season I weighed 235, and then now I’m at 280, 285, and my strength and speed have gone through the roof. So, right now it’s going to be hard to judge me until you see me play next year, and I know I’m going to be ten times better football player than I was last year.”
He went on to say that, “Last year was my first year of varsity football. I didn’t play my sophomore year because I was focusing on baseball, but then I came back. I had to re-evaluate everything sophomore year because I just missed football too much. I knew in my heart that it was the game I loved, and that’s why I really needed to come back and it was probably the best decision of my life.”
It seems that Martin’s game is getting ready to go to another level when next season starts, but Illinois fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to other BCS schools who may come calling once they figure out what they missed out on before he committed.
When asked if he’d change his mind and go somewhere else if a “dream school” came in with a late offer his answer was simple; “I gave them a chance, all of them. Illinois gave me my chance, so that’s where I’ll be.”
He feels like Illinois just felt like home, and that’s why he ultimately committed here. We can’t wait to see him make himself at home on the offensive line for years to come as he grows as a player in the orange and blue.