Incoming Football Tiger Faces Major Challenge

An Auburn football signee is already getting ready for two-a-days that start in August.

Auburn, Ala.--If any group of Auburn football recruits should be discouraged by the lack of playing time available this coming season, it should be the linebacker signees.

The Tigers look to be three deep at middle linebacker, strongside linebacker and weakside linebacker with returning players from the 2001 team plus the players who redshirted last fall.

Tyrone Martin, one of the most impressive recruits in the 2002 Auburn class both on and off the field, seems anything but daunted by the challenge he faces this fall.

Martin checks the sideline for a defensive signal during a game in his state championship senior season.

The 6-1, 214-pounder from Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City visited Jordan-Hare Stadium on A-Day to personally check out the players he will be competing with for playing time and calling teammates in the years to come. He got down on the field in the pre-game linebacker drills to get an up close glimpse of Joe Whitt in action, the man who will be his position coach this fall and the man who personally recruited him to AU. The Tigers won a battle with the Florida Gators to sign the talented linebacker.

Martin planned to run on the BRHS track team this spring, but the program was cancelled so the honor student is concentrating on school and preparing for the 2002 football season. "I was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game so I am working out to stay in shape for that and get ready to play at Auburn," Martin says. "I am doing the workout program that Coach (Kevin) Yoxall sent me." Yoxall is Auburn's strength and conditioning coach. "Right now I am trying to get as strong as possible so I will be ready to compete as soon as I get to Auburn," the linebacker says.

Tyrone Martin is known for being very quick to the football in his role as a linebacker.

Martin was the star among stars on a deep and talented team that won the Class 5A state title. The Wildcats got past Homewood in the championship game, the same team that had nipped BRHS in five overtimes (34-31) his junior season in the state title game. "It would have been even better to win two of them, but it was sweet to win the state championship as a senior after coming so close the year before," Martin says.

He had 26 quarterback sacks and 200-plus tackles as a senior. He was also a finalist for Mr. Football and was team captain. He has a long list of honors, including Mr. Benjamin Russell High School. Martin is also a member of the National Honor Society.

His high school head coach, Willie Carl Martin, predicts a bright future for Martin at Auburn and adds, "Tyrone has been a pleasure to coach. I can't say enough good things about him as a football player and a person. He is a full-speed football player with lots of natural ability and a great feel for the game."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Martin predicts that Benjamin Russell will have a strong football team again this fall. The Wildcats are loaded with college prospects and the linebacker singles out four to watch--quarterback Clay Harrelson, defensive back Eric Brock, defensive end and linebacker Marquise Gunn and John Russell, a receiver who was sidelined last season with a broken bone in his foot. Harrelson, who is 6-2, 190 pounds with 4.6 speed, and Brock, who is 6-1, 185 with 4.45 speed, could develop into two of the top prospects in the state this year.

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