One of the first signs Harper Woods (Mich.) wide receiver Jalen Martin received that he might eventually end up at Iowa State came on an unsuspecting trip down an Ames road in an Iowa State-marked vehicle.
He heard a noise and turned his head.
“I was in the car with one of the coaches and we were riding past and they saw the Iowa State flag on the car and they were just screaming and blowing the horn saying, ‘Woohoo! Go Cyclones!’” Martin said. “It was really just fascinating to me because I had never experienced that before.”
By the time Martin had left his official visit Monday, he had given Iowa State and indication he would soon join its 2016 class. Hours after his departure, while on layover in the Chicago airport headed for Detroit, Martin called to commit.
“Toward the last day that I was there, at the end of that day, that’s when I really wanted to become a Cyclone,” Martin said. “They knew I was going to come there and I just made it official when I left. [Coach Matt Campbell] was excited. He definitely had some smiles going there. He said he can’t wait to coach me and I told him I can’t wait to come put some work in and be the best I can be.”
In Martin, Iowa State lands a lengthy 6-foot-3 receiver to use on the outside and an athlete who the Cyclones feel is flexible and complex enough to use in the slot at certain times and in particular situations.
Martin originally committed to Campbell and his Toledo staff in October and was set to sign with the MAC school before the Big 12 offer rolled in. Ultimately, the Power 5 opportunity and his relationships won him over.
“It’s definitely weight off my shoulders and off my family’s shoulders because the recruiting process is definitely hectic at times and it’s definitely frustrating,” Martin said. “To know that I’m comfortable with my decision and to feel comfortable to know that I can trust Coach Campbell and that I believe in him and he definitely believes in me is just a blessing.”
Martin spent time on his trip with fellow big receiver Allen Lazard and met fellow Michigan native and basketball acquaintance Monte Morris on Monday before heading back to Michigan. The two have known each other since AAU basketball when Martin was a ninth-grader and Morris a senior.
“He’s great person and we were talking about the support from the fans and how campus life is and how college life is,” Martin said. "We talked about our majors and he’s actually majoring in what I want to major in, which is communications and he wants to become a broadcaster and that’s actually what I want to become.”
Now, the two will play at the same school, one where Martin could have the chance to make an impact immediately.
“They told me I definitely have an opportunity to come play right away as a true freshman,” Martin said. “It’s going to be based on my work ethic and how I’m doing before I get there and just what I do on the field. If I come to practice and compete and be a leader and lead the team and have great energy then I definitely have that opportunity and I’ll be playing as a true freshman.”