Better Late Than Never: Martin is a Gator

The nation's No. 1 ranked outside linebacker is now a member of the Florida Gators. The five-star and overall No. 1 ranked linebacker from the class of 2010 is 6-4 and 240-pound Aurora (CO) Grandview HS superstar Chris Martin. Martin decided to leave Cal and head for Gainesville.

Florida now bolsters what was already the top ranked class in the land by adding the third player ranked in the top 10 by in 2010. Chris Martin joins Ronald Powell (#2) and Sharrif Floyd (#6). Dominique Easley checks in at No. 12 overall, giving the Gators four members from the vaunted top 12.

Martin's offer list is as impressive a list as you will ever see. He had offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC and every other major program you could possibly imagine. Martin talked about why he chose the University of Florida.

"I'm ecstatic to be a part of something that could be truly special," Martin said. "You see how Brandon (Spikes) and Tim (Tebow) came together with their class and said they were going to win a national championship. It's the same thing here except just a little bit of a later addition being me. I guess I am the last piece to the snowman when you're all done. I hope people will remember this class and see what we're trying to accomplish by all coming together for a common goal."

Martin adds to a long list of top prospects, and many of those prospects, he had the chance to play with at the Army All-American game.

"I met Sharrif down at the U.S. Army game and I was absolutely terrified at the site of this massive human being who was so nimble and athletic," Martin said. "Then I met him and it all was gone. Every time I was around Sharrif, even in practice, he was always trying to get better. He works extremely hard and I know our relationship is going to grow even more because of our pure passion and love for this game.

"Ronald Powell is my dude, man. We got the California swag going on and everything. Besides from him being a dominant athlete, he's a guy I just like being around because he's like me. He's got a good sense of humor, but when it's time to work, we get it in. And just like Sharrif, it's going to be great to see us all develop.

"Me and Matt Elam had a good time playing with each other down in San Antonio. His knowledge of the game is something unreal. I'm excited to see how he develops as a player because you can already tell he is going to be a great player for us.

"My main man Joshua Shaw. That's my guy. He's been 100 with me since the day we met each other down at the Gridiron Kings in Orlando. He's the type of player that you want to be around because he has everything going for him and he's a genuine dude. Even when I called him up and told him I wasn't coming to Florida in the first place, he was happy for me, but now that we're going to be teammates it's going to be friends reunited. If me, Powie, or Sharrif aren't getting the sack, then best believe Josh is locking down his side and a pick is on the way."

The timing of Martin's decision to leave Cal for Gainesville was unusual, but he explained why it had to be done.

"I had a lot of distractions being at home. That area that I lived in isn't the best for me because of me being a local kid. I decided that it was best for me to get away from that and continue my college career elsewhere. I know myself, and I know I can control myself as far as distractions around the city of Gainesville.

"My choice to transfer had nothing to do with Coach Tedford or his program or the academics at Berkeley. It was a situation of me following my heart in what I felt like was the best decision for me as well as growing up too close to the university and wanting to get away. But picking the Gators wasn't hard for me as I have always loved the institution as well as Coach Meyer and his program. I remember back at the Florida State game on my official visit, I saw when the seniors ran out and said that could be me. I fell in love with Gainesville."

It had been a while since Martin talked with the Gator coaching staff, but when he got his release from Cal and called Meyer, it was just like ol' times.

"After my release had been sent over and all the paperwork had been done, I was able to call Coach Meyer. It seemed as though we picked up where we left off back in December. He expressed to me that they still had an interest in me and that they would love to have me. It is a blessing that he took time out of his busy schedule to help me with this process and for that I am extremely grateful. Me and coach Meyer talked almost every day for about two months before my visit, and our relationship was strong and i almost felt as though I lied to him when I was in his office and told him I wanted to be a Gator and then went to Cal. So this is my way of making up for it I guess you could say. But he is ecstatic that I want to come win a championship for him and his program."

The Gators lost a great linebacker after last season in Brandon Spikes, but through strong recruiting, the unit is reloaded. Martin makes the unit even deeper and stronger.

"A lot of people doubt that I can play linebacker at the next level, much less the SEC. That's all motivation to be that much better. I bring to the table an intense player who loves to make a big hit and get the team going. I never quit on plays and love to chase things down. I can put my hand on the ground as well as stand up. But what I do best is just be a pure football player who understands the game. I'm a student of the game and I love to learn."

Martin will have to sit out the season because of the transfer, but that doesn't bother him.

"I will arrive in Gainesville within a few weeks once all the paper work gets handled. It's going to be hard sitting out. Nobody wants to, but it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. I will be working my ass off in the classroom, weight room, and on the field, as well as off the field to make sure all my guys are working hard and staying out of trouble. We got a championship to win and we can't do it if we are not focused on the right things. So it's going to be an everyday struggle, but we're going to grind it out and do it big.

Martin's mom would prefer that he stay in California, but ultimately she wants him to be happy.

"My mother and father want me to be happy nonetheless and get a good education. Although it is her childhood dream for me to be at a local school, they both understand that I wasn't happy and in the end they will be rooting for the Gators just as hard as if I was at Cal."

"The top jumbo athlete in the country, Martin is athletic enough to be the exception to the rule,"'s Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy said. "The rule is that 6-4 and 240 pound linebackers put their hand down and play defense in college, and while defensive end is still a real possibility, Martin has the foot quickness, awareness, effort, and agility to be a big linebacker on the college level depending on scheme. A high character, high motor athlete."
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