Player capsule: Grant Martinez

After missing the spring due to injury, sophomore tight end Grant Martinez has an opportunity in preseason camp to demonstrate he's capable of being a starter in Arizona State's two tight end formations, and perhaps even become its primary receiving target at the position. We take a closer look at him going into 2015.

Player Capsule: Grant Martinez

Position: Tight End/3-back

Eligibility: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 230 pounds

2014 season quick review: Martinez was a depth option in 2014, playing in six games as a backup to Kody Kohl, and De'Marieya Nelson, who has exhausted eligibility.

Tight ends coach Chip Long: "I talk to Grant pretty much every day and I tell him I expect him to take the same track as Kody Kohl did. It's Year 3 for him now, I know he's coming off injury but so did Kody. I know what Grant can do, it's now a matter of him doing it consistently. He's long, he's makes some really great catches out there that show you what's possible for him. He's getting his body better, looking stronger. He's a great kid. If I had a daughter, Grant Martinez is the type of guy I'd love for her to marry. So now it's time to grab the reins and say, 'I'm going to show you what I can do coach.' I have big expectations for him because he's capable of big things. I'm ready to see him out there doing it."

SunDevilSource.com analysis: There is no more prototypical a returning tight end prospect on the ASU roster than Martinez, though entering his third year at the school he's still far from being able to fully realize that potential. Coming off leg surgery ASU was cautious with Martinez in the spring and he was a non-participant for the most part as a result, so we weren't able to see if he's evolved from December bowl practices.

Now that he's really got a more complete grasp of the ASU offense. there are currently two main limiting factors for Martinez, and they are related: size and blocking ability. Though he has an impressive frame, with very good length and a wide upper leg/hip structure that would indicate the ability to add size, he was probably 15-20 pounds shy of a weight that would allow him to really take advantage of his natural ability at the position. Martinez, at 6-foot-5, has the frame to support 250 pounds, and really should at least be 240 pounds if he's going to come close to maximizing his potential at the position. ASU tends to want its players to bulk up into the spring, and then to lean out and get better conditioned in the summer, but for Martinez, he'll want to really gain more size.

Without question, Martinez is capable of being a receiving tight end in the ASU offense. He has a great catch radius, with impressive hands and the ability to adjust very well to the football in the air and go up and get it. He now has a much better grasp of all the alignments at a position that is very mentally demanding, and so he's able to play more freely. But Martinez's blocking, especially in-line, though improved, still is a long way from being reliable when going up against high end Pac-12 competition. There were times in December bowl practices when he won reps and looked good, and then stretches in which he was blown off the football and even off his feet. He needs to get stronger, bigger, and more proficient as a blocker if he's going to play as big of a role as he would like to, and is in the long run capable of. ASU requires these guys to move around and play different roles.

Projected depth chart status: In two-tight end formations Martinez can play 3-back and Kohl can play in-line. But Martinez will have competition in that role from Raymond Epps, who is more of a receiver than a full service tight end at this point. And of course the Sun Devils will add true freshman Jay Jay Wilson to the position group and he could push his way off the redshirt list if he has a good preseason camp and others, including Martinez, allow that to become a competition.


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