Duke On Mind Of No. 1 Kicker

A season ago the Blue Devil coaching staff landed the nation's top ranked punter. Now, in 2012, Duke is looking to accomplish the same thing at the second kicking position. So where does this high major prospect sit with his recruitment? TDD investigates.

Ranked as the nation's top kicker by the Kornblue Kicking School, the No.2 kicker by Chris Sailer Kicking, and the third best kicker in the county by Kohl's Professional Kicking, Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) Walsh Jesuit's Ross Martin has quite an impressive resume. Which is why several schools are interested early on.

"Right now I have offers from Pittsburgh and Iowa State," said Martin. "I'm receiving interest and being actively recruited by quite a few BCS and FBS colleges from around the country."

Schools such as Duke, Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Florida, Stanford, California, and Wake Forest have made early overtures toward Martin after receiving tape and other information. Beginning with statistics from a highly regarded junior season.

"I led my team in total scoring with 58 points as a junior. I went 34-for-34 on extra points, eight for 11 in field goals, and had 33 touchbacks. After the season I was named to the Associated Press' First-Team All-Ohio and All-District teams, and I was picked by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a 2010 Plain Dealer Elite Football All-Star."

Shortly after the awards were announced, the college coaches started contacting Martin in hopes he could fit visits into his schedule.

"In March, I was invited and attended several spring practices and Junior Day visits at Pitt, Purdue, Cal, Stanford, Florida and others. I was invited and have scheduled more visits in April to attend spring practices and spring games at other schools of interest, and many of the schools who have a strong interest in recruiting me will be coming out to my high school for spring visits during the spring evaluation period."

Martin will also be making a number of trips to various schools for their summer camps and is looking forward to the chance to not only visit the schools, but to meet the coaches, and compete against other top prospects.

"First and foremost, I'm very excited about the opportunity to compete and demonstrate my unique skills and talents as a kicker for evaluation by the coaching staffs at the schools I'm interested in attending. Really, there's no better replacement than to perform live at the highest level and showcase my unique skill set as a place kicker and kickoff specialist in person for the coaches' personal observation and evaluation. This will be a great chance for me to show the coaching staffs firsthand, at each of the universities whose kicking camps I'll be attending this summer, how I'll be a real difference maker for their team as a four year starting kicker and highly dependable impact specialist."

"I'm very confident in my skills and talents as a kicker, so for me, the camps are more about the opportunity to visit the colleges and campuses, to see and learn more about the academics and football program, and to directly interact and connect with the football coaches. A coaching staff who places great importance and emphasis on the kicking game and special teams is also of particular important to me. I'm determined to not ever have to second guess whether I made the "Right College Decision". So, it's a process of really developing a good feel for the colleges/campuses and its students and engaging in relationship building with the coaching staffs to help reach a well-informed decision in selecting a college that I feel truly offers me the best overall fit."

Martin will be attending Duke's specialist camp and says he hopes to impress the coaching staff and to continue to build on the relationship with the Durham group.

"Duke and I have maintained contact through regular mail, e-mails, and phone conversations. I know that the Duke coaches have also contacted and talked with my high school head football coach and have had specific discussions about me with some of the leading national experts and recruiting analysts who specialize in evaluating and ranking skilled special teams athletes."

"My recruiting area coach at Duke is Coach Luke, who is the Offensive Coordinator. To date however, I've been communicating mostly with my position coach, Coach Roper, who is the Special Teams Coordinator and running backs coach at Duke. Coach Roper is awesome! He's very knowledgeable about kicking, punting, and special teams and I'm sure he's a great kicking/punting coach and tremendously helpful resource for the Duke specialists. This past year Duke successfully recruited one of the nation's top-ranked Class of 2011 punters in Will Monday. I've kicked with Will at several national kicking competition events, he's a great talent. Another great strength that Duke offers student-athletes is it's world class academics and the opportunity to earn a globally-recognized degree."

TDD subscribers will hear much more from Martin this week in the TDD Review, Volume 8.

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