Drake Martinez Earns Eligibility

The Michigan State Spartan football team was already expected to have one of the best defenses in the country next season, and today, they received news that will boost the unit even more.

Drake Martinez, the 3-star JUCO outside linebacker who committed to head coach Mark Dantonio for the class of 2015, was granted his request for an intra-conference waiver today by the Big Ten.

With the waiver, Martinez will now be immediately eligible to play for the Spartans, and will have three years of eligibility in East Lansing.

"We wish to thank Jen Smith and our compliance staff as well as the Big Ten for doing an outstanding job in managing this appeal," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. "The Big Ten made the right decision in this case relative to the welfare of the student-athlete.”

Martinez, who is the younger brother of former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, was one of the top JUCO prospects for the class of 2015.

Playing at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., and started eight games last season as a redshirt freshman, where he recorded 21 tackles. Martinez originally followed in the footsteps of his older brother and enrolled at Nebraska in the fall of 2013 before transferring.

"Drake Martinez is an outstanding football player, who will have an opportunity to provide an immediate impact this season. This decision is very beneficial for Drake in terms of his personal development as a college football player in the Big Ten. We're very excited about having the opportunity to work with Drake when preseason camp opens in early August."

Martinez and the Spartans begin fall football camp when they report on August 7, and will begin practice on August 8. The Spartans will open their season on September 4 on the road against Western Michigan.

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