For junior Harper Woods (Mich.) Chandler Park wide receiver Jalen Martin, the beginning of the 2014 season has gone quite well in some respects. As the team’s top receiving threat, Martin has proved to be a valuable player early on and has made the plays that are expected of him.
“Things have been going pretty good,” Martin told GoBlueWolverine.com. “I’ve had a lot of catches and put my team in great field position by making plays when needed. I’ve been doing everything I can possible to help my team win. That’s the mentality I have. I have a positive attitude and bring positive attitude to the team, so just been going very well thus far.”
After four games, Chandler Park is off to a 2-2 start on the year and is currently riding a two-game winning streak. Martin is in the midst of facing adversity of his own, though, as he suffered an unfortunate injury in the Eagles’ week three contest against Old Redford Academy.
“I’m doing very well,” said Martin. “I had a liver laceration so I’ve been out for a few weeks. I’ll be back in about a few more weeks. I’ve been rehabbing and really what’s got me going lately is swimming. So I’ve just been going to LA fitness and swimming, working on my breathing and trying to stay in shape so I can get back to the way I was, if not better.”
Despite this recent ailment, Martin has become a coveted commodity within the state of Michigan. As a 6-foot-2 and a half, 195 lb. junior wide receiver, Martin has been courted heavily by both Michigan and Michigan State.
This past Saturday, Martin visited Michigan as the Wolverines’ faced Utah in what turned out to be a storm-filled day. Despite the weather, Martin contends that he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor.
“It was great. I mean anytime going to the Big House in front of 115,000 fans is crazy,” Martin said. “So its always great to go there because the atmosphere there is crazy. Everyone was screaming and chanting and yelling.”
The crowd atmosphere can be an influential selling point with recruits, and Martin sees just how impactful a lively fan base can be in a game time situation.
“I think that plays a big role in Michigan games as well,” said Martin. “You’ve got your adrenaline going and pumping, the team [is] hype with the fans getting you hype, you know that can cause turnovers for the other team or help cause a touchdown for Michigan. It’s just a lot of things that Michigan fans kind of put them in great situations and that’s a plus for Michigan as well.”
While in Ann Arbor, Martin had the chance to speak with several members of the Michigan coaching staff, including his primary recruiter, Chris Singletary.
“I talked to the WR coach, coach Heck,” Martin said. “I hadn’t been there in a while so he was excited to see me and I was excited to see him as well. I was excited to be there and things of that nature. I talked to coach [Chris] Singletary as well and it was great to see him too. Like I said before, it is always great taking trips to the Big House. They give me tips and things I can do to make myself better…not just football aspects, but outside aspects of life as well. Coach Singletary also checked in on me when I was injured in the hospital so that played a big role with me as well. When I do talk to the coaches and recruiters, they always have something positive to say that puts me in a great mood.”
The other prominent in-state school vying for Martin’s attention, the Michigan State Spartans, have also been very active in his recruitment thus far.
“Lately I’ve been hearing the most from Michigan State,” said Martin. “It’s a very tight relationship. I have a great rapport with the wide receiver coach, coach Samuels, and head coach [Mark] Dantonio.
“It’s just a great feeling and a great energy every time I’m around the team,” Martin explained. “When I go there to visit and talk to the coaches, talk to some of the guys and they give me tips and pointers. They even wished me well and they checked on me when I was injured as well, so that shows me a lot outside of football that they’re really buying in. And I’m really buying in with my great relationship with Michigan State as well.”
Last month, Martin took an unofficial visit to Michigan State’s campus to reconnect with the Spartan coaches and spend some time during practice. This visit resonated well with Martin, who spoke about why Michigan State is such a prominent factor in his recruitment at this point.
“Each time I go up there its just a constant trust,” said Martin. “You know, talking to the coaches, being around the guys and getting a feel for what the practicing style is like… pre-practice, after practice, and during the meals the guys sit together. They talk, they just enjoy themselves and have a great time and it basically feels like a family. And wherever I go to school, I want to go somewhere I feel like I can fit and the coaches can help me get my degree.”
In terms of what he is looking for in a potential school, Martin has a good idea of what factors will play a strong role in where he ends up.
“First is education,” said Martin. “That’s before anything. Then second is really, because I know I will be willing to strive for greatness, is if the coaches are willing to help me and prepare me for the things that I will be coming against during the season for my years at the school and help me develop. That would be a great plus. I’m also looking for a team that comes together. Sometimes you will have your ups and downs, but it’s hard work— hard in practice and then the games. And the fan base plays a big role as well. A lot of fans that cheer you on and come to the games and wish the best for me, that’s a plus as well.”
As for the rest of the season, Martin is planning on at least two more visits to Big Ten schools.
“I know I’ll be visiting Indiana to watch a few games,” said Martin. “I’ll be going up to Michigan State to watch a few games as well this year.”
Jalen Martin Visits UM, Discusses Recruitment
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