From redshirt to recognition

Irish junior tackle Zack Martin is among 65 interior linemen on the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch list.

One year ago, Irish tackle Zack Martin had never played a down of college football. Over the last 12 months, the junior (redshirt-sophomore) has since started 13 games at two positions, earned the Sun Bowl Lineman of the Game award, added the program's coveted Guardian of the Year Award to his growing mantle, and named as the team's No. 4 best player on IrishEyes post-season Top 10 list.

Today, Martin was recognized nationally for his efforts, earning a spot on the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch list. The trophy is presented annually to the nation's outstanding interior lineman (guard, tackle, center, defensive lineman).

Three former Irish players have taken home the award: OT George Connor in 1946, OG Bill Fischer in 1948, and DE Ross Browner in 1976. OT Aaron Taylor was one of three finalists in 1993. Martin's teammate and current Irish senior guard Trevor Robinson was a Watch List member last summer.

In addition to Martin, 12 Irish opponents for the upcoming season appear on the 65-man Watch List. Of note, the 12 are from six foes, two each from Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, USC, and Stanford.

Heavy Competition: Notre Dame's defensive front will face eight Outland Trophy Watch List Members during the season. The squad as a whole will face eight over the season's first five weeks.

OG David Molk, Michigan (Week Two)
DT Mike Martin, Michigan (Week Two)
NG Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (Week Three)
DT Joel Foreman, Michigan State (Week Three)
OT Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh (Week Four)
OT Chris Jacobson, Pittsburgh (Week Four)
OT Ken Plue, Purdue (Week Five)
OG Kawann Short, Purdue (Week Five)
C Khaled Holmes, USC (Game Eight)
OT Matt Kalil, USC (Game Eight)
OT David DeCastro, Stanford (Regular Season Finale)
DT Jonathan Martin, Stanford (Regular Season Finale)

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the All-America team chosen by the Football Writers Association of America.

Martin, a junior in class status, sat out his 2009 freshman season under former head coach Charlie Weis, and thus has three seasons of eligibility remaining including the upcoming campaign. Top Stories