Meet the Bay Area's best

California is known for producing high school talent that each season ranks among the nation's elite. The 2010 recruiting class seems to be following that trend, and the cream of the crop might be Oakland-native Chris Martin, who is interested in checking out LSU.

One of the Bay Area's top prospects since he first stepped onto the football field his freshman season, Martin has helped lead the charge for the Bishop Dowd High defense, known as one of the stingiest in the area.


As a sophomore, Martin was named the Hayward Area Athletic League's premier defensive player, leading a Dragons defense that gave up 15 points or less on four different occasions en route to an 8-3 record. Martin recorded 108 total tackles on the season, which included five sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions, earning first-team sophomore all-state honors.


In his junior campaign this past season, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect did not disappoint. He recorded 110 tackles, with 20 of those coming for loss, including four sacks.


"We played well, but got knocked out in the second round of the playoffs," Martin said. "We were young and a lot of kids on our team were coming in off of transfers. They weren't allowed to play until a few games in, so we weren't all able to get into a rhythm until late in the season. So, a lot of the teams had progressed further than us, forcing us to play catch up."


Though the past year saw him increase his total tackles compared to his sophomore season, Martin feels that he still has plenty of room to improve.


"I was not too happy with my season because I felt like I could have dominated as an outside back, because we blitzed a lot," he said. "I want to play defensive end in college, but for now I am stuck in the middle, which I think the coaches will put me next year. I just know that the push rush is the most exciting thing in football, so that's where I want to be."


That kind of attitude has brought not just early interest from schools across the country, but offers as well.


"I could not even tell you off the top of my head how many offers I am at," Martin said. "Definitely up in the double digits. I have been fortunate to have this many colleges come after me this early. It feels good, so I am just going to keep working. We just got back from a Max Preps tournament down in San Diego. So I am just working to stay on top."


With offers from USC, Stanford, Georgia, Tennessee, among many others, Martin has plenty of decisions to make over the next year. Yet, though only a junior, the Oakland-native is hoping to wind his decision down a bit early.


"I have said that I wanted to decide soon, but we will see," Martin said. "USC and Notre Dame are the two schools that have been out here to see me, so I have definitely been into them. The local schools have all offered, such as Stanford and UCLA, so I am going to look more into them. North Carolina also just got in touch with me today to let me know they would be out to the school this month."


With the mailbox staying full, one school that Martin hopes continues to pursue him is LSU.


"I have always been a fan of LSU, though I have not gotten to get down to Louisiana," he said. "I watched the Auburn and Alabama games this past season, and I was really impressed. Two of my teammates went down there for camp, and when they got back they couldn't stop talking about it. They loved LSU, so I have wanted to check it out ever since.


"LSU is also known around here as D-Line University, and that is the kind of thing I like to hear," he added. "Guys like Glenn Dorsey have gone through the program and made a big impact and then gone on to the NFL. That is what you hope to find in a school if you want to develop your game. If LSU came calling with an offer, they will jump right up into my top few schools."


As for factors surrounding his decision, Martin said that he and his father will go over a number of things before making the final call, whenever that may come.


"Playing time is important to me, so we like to check out depth charts," he said. "I just want to get out there and make an impact. We are going to keep a close eye on signing day coming up to see how all the charts pan out. Academics are always important to me, but I feel like I can not go wrong academically with any of the schools I will be choosing from."


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