Manning The Mike

Arizona Western middle linebacker Steffon Martin (6-2, 238) is no longer committed to Purdue and was very impressed with his weekend visit to Arkansas, who would love for him to replace the departing Jerry Franklin at the Mike LB for the Razorbacks.

Arizona Western middle linebacker Steffon Martin knows he is just what Arkansas is looking to bring in next season.

The Razorback staff took great pains this weekend to let Martin (6-2, 238) know just how much they would like him to replace senior Jerry Franklin.

"They were telling me how they needed me to take his place at Mike (middle linebacker) and how I could be a big part of getting the Razorbacks to the top," Martin said. "It was a great visit and they really made an impression on me."

Martin, who had 62 tackles, 10 stops for lost yardage and 4 fumble recoveries this season for Arizona Western, visited this weekend along with teammate and standout tailback Damien Williams (6-1, 215).

Martin had been committed to Purdue, but that status has now changed for the spring graduate.

"I have decided to de-commit from Purdue and just take a look at what is the best option for me," Martin said. "I was real impressed with Arkansas, but I am going to take another couple of visits and just make the right decision."

Martin has already visited Indiana and Ohio State and has a visit set to Texas A&M Jan. 13-15.

"I think I will probably take two more visits – the one to Texas A&M and another one," Martin said. "I am taking a look at Purdue or Washington State for that one."

Ironically, Martin had a chance to visit with new Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes while on his visit at Ohio State.

"He was my main recruiter, but I got to meet him on my visit to Ohio State," Martin said. "I got to spend a lot of time with him this weekend. He is very calm and cool and seems like he really knows a lot about what he is doing."

He's also impressed with Arkansas linebackers coach Reggie Johnson.

"He is a really good guy who also knows what he is doing," Martin said. "He just wanted to make sure I know that I'm the type of guy they want at the Mike."

Martin admits he did not have many options out of high school.

"I really just played sports and didn't worry too much about my grades when I was in high school so that didn't leave me with any opportunities," Martin said. "But my older brother played there two years earlier and my mom was cool with the coach so it worked out for me to go there."

Martin has developed into standout linebacker at his junior college.

"I really feel like I have good speed, love contact and can read the play and find the guy with the ball," Martin said. "I'm continue to just work on everything. Get better every day – that's my goal."

He and Williams, who had nearly 2,000 rushing yards this season, have talked about going to the same school.

Williams, who is committed to Arizona State, is visiting Tennessee on Jan. 13-15, Oklahoma on Jan. 20-22 and Texas Tech on Jan. 27-29.

"We've talked about how it would be great if we ended up at the same school and we both really liked Arkansas so that could happen," Martin said. "But we have to make the best decision for ourselves."


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