Illinois I-Back wants to make a difference

Dale Martin has already gotten his share of attention and has already taken his share of visits, trying to figure everything out. It's the wonderful game of recruiting and unlike the actual game he plays, it's not quite so easy to figure out. The fact that even more teams keep coming on with offers, that makes it that much more interesting for this Illinois standout. But as he would admit, it's better than having nothing to figure out at all.

At 13 offers in writing, Dale Martin looks at recruiting as a bit of a whirlwind, something he's experienced to a degree since even before his junior year. First it was Northwestern and then it was Illinois and then……..everyone else. Martin looks at it as a blessing, but he knows that in the near future, it could get pretty busy. "It's been coming on pretty good lately," Dale said. "It was ok at first, but lately it's really started to heat up.

The heat is coming from the schools piling on with offers, West Virginia, Iowa, Iowa State, Purdue, Louisville, Ole Miss, Toledo, Nebraska and New Mexico now all combining to make a nice list and it's one that will more than likely get a lot bigger as the months grow long into the summer.

That's ok with Dale, because that means that no matter how busy it is, he knows it will be for the right reason. "You have to do what you have to do to make sure it's the right decision," he said. "I'd like to get out to all of these schools to check them out, but that probably won't happen."

One school he will check out is Louisville on April 8th for their junior days. That will make his fourth unofficial, Martin having already visited Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa.

What about the team that's right west of Iowa and is recruiting him about as hard as any other? "Oh, I like Nebraska, but I am trying to learn more about them," he said. "It's not that far away, not that I really mind distance all that much."

"I know I like their offense and you look at their depth, it seems like a good situation for someone to get in the next year or so."

Now don't think that Martin cares about competition, but he did say that while he's confident, he wants to be realistic about what he can do. "Hey, if a team has two running backs and another team has six, I'm probably not going to the one that has six," he said. "Competition is just that, but there's no need to go where I am not really needed."

That's another big criteria for Martin, which he sees the Huskers (amongst others) fitting to a tee. They can't be too bad, but he'd just as soon that they are too good either. "I don't really want to go to a team that could win it all, whether I'm there or not," he said. "I don't know, I just want to make a difference, you know? I want to be a factor in a team getting over that hump."

You can find a variety of teams which fit that mold for Martin. Louisville, trying to corral the Big East – Iowa, perhaps one solid running back from having a complete offense – Iowa State, whose struggles in the running game were one of the chief reasons they didn't do as well as most thought they would. And then you have Nebraska, who had one of the worst rushing performances in school history last season, and it was only the passing attack that propelled that team into the Alamo Bowl against Michigan.

Martin wants to make a difference in college, but he'd like to make a difference in his last year of prep ball as well. That's not going to be easy, because when you ask him how many starters his team has coming back on offense, the answer is as scary as it is short:

"Me," Martin said with a seemingly frustrated laugh. "Everyone else is gone."

And what does Martin think of possibly having a year that is as frustrating as it will be physically tough? "Hey, if you are a player, you play and it doesn't matter what the other team has, you don't have or anything," he said. "Great players don't take seasons off when things don't look all that good. They get better."

"That's just what I am going to have to do this year."

His mind will be on that, but recruiting as well, as Martin said that he would like to have a reasonable list by summer. Whether that happens or not, we'll see, but Martin says that he's going to be looking as hard as he can at as many teams as he can, to get everything figured out. "It's all just learning with a lot of these schools, so I am just taking it all in," he said. "I'd like to have as few teams as possible on my list when the season starts, though. But I guess we'll see how it all works out."


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