Editor's Note: These lists feature our thoughts on the most important players for Auburn heading into the 2016 football season. We are counting down 16 key Tigers for the offense and 16 more for the defense as Coach Gus Malzahn's team prepares to face Clemson in the season opener.
Bringing speed and elusiveness to the Auburn's football roster, Martin’s ability to score from anywhere on the field brings a home run hitter to the offense that was missing last year.
Most of the 2015 season the Auburn offense was forced to put together long drives instead of scoring quickly, which has been a big part of Gus Malzahn's most successful offenses. Having a player like Martin in the mix at running back along with powerful Jovon Robinson and versatile Kerryon Johnson should give Auburn multiple weapons to work with in the running game.
Best Case Scenario: With his speed Martin is just the type of player to provide that extra dimension to Auburn’s offense. Making a few big plays early in the season in the running game would make defenses have to be wary of defending the edge, giving Robinson more running room between the tackles. Similar to what Onterio McCalebb meant for Auburn offenses in 2009 and 2010, Martin’s speed could open up things in a big way this fall.
Worst Case Scenario: Auburn’s offense needs to have success running between the tackles to allow Martin’s speed to become a true weapon. That means making yardage on first down to set up manageable situations. Too many negative or minimal first down gains will take away the threat of the run and leave Martin out of the offense.
Career Comparison: A Baylor signee who got out of his letter of intent after a coaching change, Martin reminds me of a former Bear running back Lache Seastrunk, who was also a player Auburn recruited, because of his ability to get downhill in a hurry and his speed to turn every play into a big gain. Seastrunk ran for 2,189 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in two seasons in Waco while averaging 7.6 yards per carry. That type of production would be a massive boost for Auburn’s offense if Martin can provide a consistent big play threat.
Martin At His Best: On Oct. 8, Memorial High defeated Sterling 27-22 and Martin put on a show. Carrying the ball 14 times for 171 yards, he scored on runs of 76 and 45 yards to show his breakaway speed.
Quote: "The reason why Kam Martin was rated as the No. 1 RB in the state of Texas was because of his blistering speed," Scout National Recruiting Analyst Greg Powers notes. "He is a running back who will fit in well in the spread offense and is operating at his best when he has some space, but when he puts his foot in the ground and heads north and south there are not going to be many defenders--even in the SEC--who can hang with him. He catches the ball well. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and that also makes him fun to watch."