Beaverton, Ore. -- When The Opening began last week, Iowa City (Iowa) West wide receiver Oliver Martin was one of the more under-the-radar pass-catchers in attendance. By the time the talent-laden event ended he had proven not only that he deserved to be on the same stage with the nation’s best, but that he could also thrive once he stepped onto it.
"I feel like a lot of people seeing me compete against four-stars… because there's not a lot of four-stars in Iowa… and running around with four-star (and) five-star athletes (were surprised). I think I'm as good as those athletes," Martin said Sunday.
He showed that much on day one during Nike Training Camp testing. The 6-1, 189-pounder ran a 4.57 forty, vertical jumped 41.6 inches, had a 4.15 short shuttle, and had a power ball toss of 41 feet. His 133.02 composite score earned him a 12th place finish out of 166 participants. As impressive as that was, Martin was even better when the seven-on-seven action started. He demonstrated all the traits of the quintessential slot receiver. Working the short and intermediate areas of the field he showed great burst in and out of breaks, moves in the open field, and terrific hands. It wasn’t long before he was a favorite target of both Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey and LSU commit Myles Brennan.
"It was a really fun week,” said Martin. “We got here early with the quarterbacks, got some of our timing down, got to know the quarterbacks and receivers and some of the kids on the team, hooked us up with a bunch of gear, did some testing and one-on-ones on Friday. And then Saturday and Sunday are the most fun days playing with your team, so it was fun."
Much of that enjoyment stemmed from the fast bonds he made with his teammates, and because many of them were Michigan commitments they weren’t bashful about putting in a word for the Maize & Blue.
“All the Michigan guys were recruiting me,” Martin said with a smile. “They all were like calling the coaches and texting the coaches to offer me. They wanted me to team with them. I actually just called the offensive coordinator for Michigan and they offered me. I love all the guys on my team and the Michigan guys and Dylan McCaffrey."
The chemistry with McCaffrey was hard to miss. They connected numerous times in each game and also for one of their team’s top plays of the competition… a 40-plus yard bomb down the middle for six in the semifinals.
"(The chemistry) was really good,” Martin said. “I feel like he knew that I could get to a spot or run a route when he needed it, and I would catch the ball for him. He always put the ball right there so it was great chemistry. I liked him a lot and we always played catch on the side."
The question now is will he seriously consider doing so for four to five years in Ann Arbor now that the Wolverines have offered?
"Yeah definitely,” said Martin. “They're a top program every year and they're close to home. Good receivers go there and I already know all the recruits well from this week and being with them. Especially Dylan and some of the running backs like Omari Samuels… we became really good friends."
The next step for Jim Harbaugh & company is to get Martin up on a visit. Prior visits to Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Oregon moved those programs into prime contention, but he isn’t ready to put his list in order. He’s still trying to process it all since each of his Power Five offers have come in the last few months.
Said, Martin, “there's probably five or six schools right around the top for me. I'm not really sure about it."
"(The decision will come down to) if I fit into their system with where they're at in recruiting right now. Past success, especially at my position. If I like the campus or have a good feel for the coaches and all that stuff."
Martin expressed a desire to commit to a school before the football season begins, but he does that he has to decide what sport he wants to play in college. He is also a noted second baseman with Division One offers and attention from pro scouts. As a matter of fact an hour after he got home from The Opening he was expected to be on the diamond for practice. The intense demands of being committed to both sports in high school has caused him to think long and hard about what those demands would be like at the next level.
"I think I'd do one or the other,” said Martin. “I think doing too much would be a lot to do in college."
"I think I'll (decide on which sport he’ll play in college) before the end of the summer… before the beginning of the fall season for football.”