Player Capsule: Grant Martinez

Local product Grant Martinez has been snake bit by injuries in his Arizona State career. What's his 2016 forecast?

Player Capsule: Grant Martinez

Position: Tight End

Eligibility: Junior

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 235 pounds

2015 season quick review: A broken foot and subsequent trouble with the recovery that led to another surgery kept Martinez off the field for all of 2015 and through the spring practice schedule earlier this year. 

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. analysis (05/16): One of a handful of ASU players who has been unable to stay healthy for any length of time over a multi-year period, Martinez hasn't been on the field very much even in a practice setting. As a result we just haven't seen him get the reps that lead to the type of development that would put him in a position to be expected to see the field. 

Martinez has always been a good catcher of the football, with nice length and an ability to make extended plays on the football. He's a more than serviceable athlete for the position and has worked to add size and strength, now bigger than any time in his ASU career. That should help him with blocking and being more physical when attached to the line, but he's going to have to get back to 100 percent in order to demonstrate it. In the meanwhile, others at the position, including Raymond Epps and JayJay Wilson continue to steadily improve. That's going to make it tougher for Martinez to make his way into the rotation even when he does get back to full strength. Martinez has potential to play effectively at this level, but it takes some good fortune and he's had a lot of bad luck so far. 

(07/15) 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: Injuries have set back Martinez enough that not only will passing starter Kody Kohl be a practical impossibility, but Epps and Wilson are likely to be ahead of him in he pecking order unless Martinez is able to go out and have a great preseason camp in August. Also, redshirt freshman Thomas Hudson is increasingly capable. The pathway to playing time has never been more challenging. 

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