Martinez Takes In The Swamp

The Florida offensive line is in need of some help and after a few years of not signing many along the offensive front, the Gators are looking to add some quality and quantity in the trenches in the next two classes. Tampa Catholic is home to one of the best in 2014. Corey Martinez is a 6-4.5 295 mauler up front and visited Gainesville last weekend for the win over Louisiana.

It wasn't his first trip to Gainesville, but the first for Corey Martinez during the season and he got to do a lot, even on a game day. He first met with his area recruiting coach Derek Lewis who has been a big time recruiter in the Tampa area over the last two years.

"When we got there we got checked in and headed up stairs with Coach Lewis," Martinez said about showing up in Gainesville. "My dad and I got to talk to Coach Muschamp and had a real good conversation."

The Florida head coach reassured Martinez that he is a high priority for them especially at his position and that they just want to see where he fits.

"He said he likes what he has seen so far and the evaluation process is still going on," Martinez said. "They are wrapping up the 2013 class now and are really going to get started on 2014. He said he will be up in January to visit in spring or offseason workouts… it was a quick conversation."

Martinez has been to camp at Florida and really impressed. The staff has stayed on him because he is the type of grinder and mauler that they love along the offensive front. The only issue is where he will fit because of his length.

"They would like to see me get to 6-6 and play tackle," he said. "If not they want to see me play some center or guard if I end up going there.

"They like that I am a hardnosed guy and come off the ball every time. I don't take plays off and have very good footwork and good hands."

The plan now Is for offensive line coach Tim Davis to come by in the spring and really evaluate Martinez in person and get a better understanding of where exactly he would fit.

"Coach Lewis came up and visited me during the season and they can only come visit me once," Martinez said. "Coach Davis wanted to come but didn't realize Coach Lewis was coming down. The main thing is they want to see me play again. I think Coach Davis is going to come down to a practice in the spring and evaluate me more. They want to make sure they are getting the right player out of me."

Martinez has worked with Davis in camp and has gotten to know him a bit as well.

"Coach Davis, he is a great guy, a great personality, and a down to earth great guy," the young lineman said.

It isn't exactly a top secret that the Florida offense has struggled and a big part of the struggles has been the protection and blocking up front. Martinez says there is still a lot to be liked about the guys in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball.

"They are a really solid offensive line and everyone can see they have had a lot of injuries on the line," he said regarding their struggles. "They are trying to get more guys to fill some spots. They want people to step up and play a bigger role down the line. They have had injuries here and there that have held them back from their potential.

"I think they are powerful, sometimes in key situations they just don't come through. I think that will come with time and think that the offense just needs a little bit more."

Unfortunately for Martinez he wasn't around to see the end of the game on Saturday. He and his father left just as the fourth quarter started and the gators weren't looking too good at the time and were losing to unranked Louisiana.

"We actually ended up leaving right at the beginning of the fourth quarter," he said. "I was thinking in my head that place must have been unreal when (they scored the winning touchdown). People were leaving in the fourth quarter and I was in shock they were losing to that team. But, in the end they always come out strong and don't give up."

Martinez is getting a lot of interest and already has five scholarship offers on the table.

"All of the Florida schools are on me pretty hard," he said. "Miami has been on me pretty hard lately. I have been getting a lot of mail from various schools around the country… Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame. I have had schools come in and talk to me. Michigan State came by the other day and I had a questionnaire to fill out.

"Staying in contact… I have been in contact with Florida and Miami on a weekly basis. I have five offers from Miami, Florida State, USF, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt."

Martinez knows what Vanderbilt brings to the table. A can't miss academic opportunity and a team on the rise.

"Their academics are outstanding," he said of the Commodore school. "They are a real prestigious school. I haven't been up there but here it is a beautiful school. They have a pretty good team."

Of the Wildcats, he really isn't too sure at this time what to think.

"I honestly don't know much about Kentucky, their football team is okay," he said. "The school is nice from what I have heard."

South Florida is the local team and they also have made Martinez a priority.

"They stay in contact with me a lot as well… Coach Holtz on Facebook and the offensive line and Coach Smith who is the recruiter for my area," he said. "They came to my last game against Berkely and watched me because another player on my team is committed there. It is close to home, a good school. I know they are struggling, but I have a feeling next year they should take off pretty well."

His team of choice as a fan growing up was Florida State. The Seminoles also offered early and have assures him he has a home if he wants to go there.

"I haven't had much contact," he said about the Seminoles. "When I went up there in the summer, Coach Fisher told me ‘you have an offer here… any time you want to call, you can commit here and you will have a spot'. There is nothing bad you can say about Florida State. The school is beautiful. Academically they have everything you would need to succeed in life. You can see how good their program is by watching their games. It is a really good school."

If there is one team that seems to have everything going for it in terms of the young man's interest it is the University of Miami. They have made a big impression on the monster lineman from Tampa.

"One thing I like about Miami that is different from other schools is the small class size," he said. "All of my life I've been in a private school and used to small class sizes, but it isn't going to make my decision where I go.

He loves the school, but has to consider the sanctions that may be levied after a huge NCAA investigation this past year. It is a subject that the Miami staff isn't afraid to discuss with the young man.

"It's a good environment," he said. "The sanctions right now have a lot of people worried along with me. I am going to sit back and see what happens. The football team lost a game last week in a game they definitely shouldn't have lost. They have their ups and downs but I think they are in a building process.

"They show glimpses of playing back like they used to. I think they are starting to come back around again."

The Hurricanes also impressed mom, which seems very important in the recruiting process for Martinez.

"When I went with my mom to Miami, the coaches showed me the school and the area," he said. "They were really friendly to me and my mom. They were always there with us and seemed to have the most impact and showing the most interest."

In the end, this future star says his final decision will be based on the feel he gets from the schools. The one that makes him feel the best about being there for four years and his life following those four years is the school he will decide to play for.

"It boils down to one thing… where I feel comfortable at," he said. "I have to remember that wherever I am going I am going to be there for the next four years of my life. It will set me up for the big picture in life to go on. Whether that is possibly playing in the NFL or starting my own law firm and being an attorney. I just have to see myself going there and liking it."

Fightin Gators Top Stories