ISU Blazes Trail of Alabama TB

Offers continue to roll in for one of the country's most prolific running backs for the Class of 2004, and Iowa State coaches have to like the position they're in with Madison (Ala.) Bob Jones High prep standout Max Martin.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has offers from several SEC schools, but could be considered a national recruit because of offers from the Cyclones and Michigan. ISU running back coach Tony Alford, however, was the first to hand Max Martin a scholarship offer and loyalty could become a factor when the dust settles.

"Coach Alford was the first one to offer me and they've been showing the most interest out of everyone," said Martin. "He's really been the factor that drew me to them. I really didn't know too much about the school or football program. His influence has meant a lot. He says that I could make a big impact on the team. He really wants me a lot. I'm his number one guy."

Martin indicated he also has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Michigan, Georgia, LSU, Louisville and South Carolina.

"I do have some favorites out of those, but I'm still pretty open at the time," he said. "Michigan, Iowa State, Georgia, LSU and Alabama are really my favorites. Those are the schools that are coming at me the hardest and have shown the most interest. They all have great programs and it would be a good platform for me."

The attention comes after he rushed for 1,069 yards on 138 carries and caught five passes for 133 yards in 2002, scoring 12 total touchdowns. Martin prides himself on speed, strength and power in modeling his game after three successful NFL running backs.

"I'm a big guy, but move like a little guy," he said. "I pride myself on having good agility and quickness. I'm as fast as most of the smaller guys and pack a lot more punch. I really look at myself as an all-around back. Eddie George slash Marshall Faulk slash Edgerrin James."

Although they've seen everything they want in a running back on film, Cyclone coaches could get a first-hand glimpse of Martin next month as he's considering making a trip to Ames for padded camp. That could turn out to be a valuable recruiting tool for ISU, because of the distance from his Alabama home.

"I plan on attending a few camps, but haven't really decided which ones yet," he said. "I'm going to go over that with my family in the next week or two and make a decision. One of the camps I'm looking at is Iowa State's, and if I do come up there it would be the second session."

But could distance be a factor in where Martin goes? Not likely, he said. "I'd be alright going anywhere, basically."

Martin will consider taking all five of his visits, as well, but indicates that his influence will be based on several different factors.

"I'm not too worried about taking all of them, but my loved ones keep telling me I should evaluate all of the schools by taking visits," he said. "So I'll most likely do that, but it's not something I'm going to bank everything on."

Martin led Bob Jones High to a 6-5 record in 2002 after the squad suffered back-to-back 2-8 records in previous years. Bob Jones competes in Class 6A, Alabama's biggest grouping of teams.

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