The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
Cameron Martinez officially became a Buckeye on Wednesday, signing his National Letter of Intent, and with that, Ohio State's 2020 recruiting class is officially signed (literally), sealed and almost delivered.
Martinez had been recruited by the Buckeyes heavily since receiving a scholarship offer from the staff on Feb. 15, despite holding just a three-star rating. Ohio State was going up against Northwestern and Minnesota (two schools he took an official visit to), Penn State and Notre Dame, but he ultimately committed to the Buckeyes on July 4.
The Martinez File
- Class: 2020
- Size: 5-foot-11/183 lbs
- Pos: DB
- School: Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 14 (ATH)
Martinez's commitment was put in limbo in December, however, when secondary coach Jeff Hafley became the head coach at Boston College.
Most of Martinez's high school success and experience came in playing quarterback for Muskegon High School, where he won Michigan's Mr. Football award and the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award this season, twice won the MLive Player of the Year award (2018, 2019) and went 48-4 in his career (he won 26 of his last 28 games, with the two losses coming in the 2018 and 2019 state championship games).
Committed... Happy 4th pic.twitter.com/hUXPIdKghj— Cameron Martinez (@CM240) July 4, 2019
But the Buckeyes have long seen Martinez as a defensive back at the next level. Hafley and Martinez carved out a very strong relationship, one that started when Martinez became one of the first recruits Hafley visited when he joined the Ohio State coaching staff in January 2019.
Hafley was supposed to be the one working hand-in-hand with Martinez, at least for one year, to help transform him into a high-level defensive back. So wanting to see who would be in charge of his future development, Martinez wisely chose to not sign during the early signing period in mid-December, waiting patiently to see who Ryan Day would hire as the next secondary coach.
Kerry Coombs was the name that emerged as the frontrunner, but Martinez did not budge. Though he never decommitted, he never doubled down on his Ohio State commitment. He waited until Coombs was officially hired to the staff, and then the two finally met.
That meeting and building of a relationship went a long way for Martinez, who reaffirmed his commitment on Jan. 28 and announced that he would sign with Ohio State on National Signing Day.
Coombs, the Buckeyes' newest defensive coordinator/secondary coach, will now have the reins of Martinez, who will need to develop as a defensive back but can become a star if developed properly.
At Muskegon, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback finished with 6,343 career rushing yards to come in 11th on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s all-time rushing list. It's almost comical, but Martinez’s final Hudl highlight film from his high school career features more than nine minutes of touchdowns. He was a scoring machine in high school, but now he will have to translate those athletic skills to a new position.
He may not be completely comfortable yet in playing defensive back, where he projects best to the safety spot, but Martinez is nevertheless budding with potential. Simply put, he's a dynamic football player who showed an ability to play fast, explosive and balanced throughout his prep career. He has a high football IQ, so learning quickly won't be an area of weakness.
Martinez is an exciting unknown who could be one of the Buckeyes' next defensive stars if he can make a smooth transition to playing in a college secondary, so it will be up to Coombs and the rest of Ohio State's staff to help him match that lofty potential.