Talented In-State Linebacker Picks Tigers

The football Tigers pick up yet another fast and talented defender for the Class of 2002.

Alexander City, Ala.--Benjamin Russell linebacker Tyrone Martin ended all speculation over this college choice by giving his verbal commitment to be an Auburn Tiger.

After watching the Tigers defeat the top-ranked Florida Gators 23-20 in the final seconds last Saturday night, the playmaker in the middle for the Wildcats says he knew then that Auburn is the right place for him.

"I'm coming to Auburn," the 6-1, 214-pound Martin told Inside The Auburn Tigers Monday night. "I made my final decision. I talked to them (coaches Joe Whitt and Tommy Tuberville) when I was down there. I told them I would love to be an Auburn Tiger…I came down and watched the Auburn-Florida game. That was a great one. It was a great win."

While you would think the superb game against Florida could have been the deciding factor, Martin says that only had a small role in his decision. "I told them before the game (that has was committed) but when I watched the team play, that finalized my decision."

A tough player with a nose for the football, Martin has accumulated 89 tackles and 10 sacks in just seven games this season. Leading a defense that has given up just 21 points with the starters in the game, Martin is very aggressive on the field and in the huddle, showing a confidence that carries over to his teammates. Hoping to make a return trip to Birmingham for the 5A state title game, Benjamin Russell wrapped up a state playoff berth last Friday night with a win over Booker T. Washington. The Wildcats play Wetumpka this week for homecoming before traveling to Eufaula in two weeks for the region championship game.

Still planning to visit Notre Dame and Duke later in the season, Martin says he is sure of his decision and will be signing with the Tigers in February after making his official visit to the Plains on January 18. An outstanding student who should have no problems qualifying, Martin will likely play inside on the next level at either the middle or jack linebacker position.

Martin joins 6-4 1/2, 250 tight end Lawrence Lilly from Montevallo and 6-1, 195 defensive back Brandon Williams from Shaw High School in Columbus as the latest Tiger commitments. The following is a run-down of the rest of the Auburn verbals.

Greg Wilkerson, a 6-3, 230 pound athlete from Bowdon, Ga., High, who will be placed in junior college by the Tigers.

Justin Bruce, a 6-9, 250, 4.6 tight end from Pepperell High in Lindale, Ga.

Kevin Sears, a 6-4 1/2, 217-pound, 4.6 defensive back from Russellville High.

William Ward, a 6-2, 250, 4.9 center for Prattville High. He is also an excellent deep snapper.

Oliver King, a 6-2, 215, 4.5 linebacker is from North Surry High in Mount Airy, N.C.

Kevis Burnam is a 6-2, 230, 4.6 linebacker from Macon County High in Montezuma, Ga.

Seante Williams is a 6-5, 250, 4.65 defensive end at Coffeyville, Kan., Community College who is originally from Pine Forest High in Pensacola, Fla.

Tiger Ticket Extra: In the Class 5A showdown with unbeaten Eufaula, Martin will have the opportunity to test his skills against one of the state's top senior running backs, Charles Green, who was also on the Auburn campus this past weekend to check out the Florida game.

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