Fatigued, drained and just flat out spent. That was what the strained voice of Alfred Martin sounded like. Having just got done with practice, he sounded as if he just woke up, but quite the opposite, he was just about ready to pass out. That's how it is with him, because he knows that's what it takes to get where he wants to go. "You don't get better by not doing the work." Alfred said. "You have to treat practice like a game, because if you don't, you won't have enough to play the entire game and that's no good for the team."
That's a pretty "even-keel" attitude about how Alfred approaches the game from a team concept and it translates even to the field during the regular season. Alfred just isn't about the flash and dash, talk a bunch and make a lot of noise. He's pretty simple, just the way he wants. "If I get a sack or something like that, I just say to myself ‘good job, nice play, now do it again'." Alfred said. "You can't get too happy about things you do out there or next time, they might get you."
Getting to Alfred isn't all that easy. At 6'5" and right around 255 lbs., he's got a big enough frame to be a presence in the middle, but has a slender enough stature (at least right now) that he can do a little gap-busting as well. It's actually shooting the gaps that he likes the best. "I can go laterally or shoot the gap, but I would rather go up the middle." Alfred said. "That's where I think my strength is." When it comes to Alfred's frame, you can see why some schools ponder over his up-side, because this is a frame that you could throw another 30 lbs. on and not even give it a second thought.
The up-side is a big reason for offers from schools like Nebraska and Wisconsin, but the presence of these major programs hasn't stopped schools like Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Louisville, Minnesota and even Buffalo from jumping in to see if they have a shot.
Who has the best shot though out of this group might surprise you. "I like Cincinnati the best." Alfred said. "I have gotten to see their program and everything and I really like it, plus I like Louisville because it just seems like a really good school."
That probably does come as a surprise to some considering the fact that NU and Wisconsin have offered him, but at least as far as Nebraska goes, this is what Alfred had to say. "That's just really too far away from me." Alfred said. "I would like to stay closer to home, but if I can't, I would like to go a little further south." That of course indicating the southeastern schools of the country.
No time-frame for Martin, but like most, he plans to make sure his decision is the right one, so whether it be a week, a month or after the season, it will be one he will look back upon with confidence.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619
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