Martin Favors Two

Ohio's top overall prospect in the junior class could be defensive end Ben Martin of Cincinnati LaSalle. Early in the recruiting process, Martin is focusing mainly on two schools. Kyle Lamb caught up with Martin to get feedback on what he is thinking at this point as far as college is concerned. Read on for more.

What can you say about Notre Dame? They are one of the most recognizable programs in college football. Now, first-year head coach Charlie Weis has them competitive once again on a national level.

But that's not where it ends. They are once again competitive in recruiting, as well.

Over the next several months, Notre Dame is shaping up to have one heck of a monumental recruiting battle for another power – Ohio State. 

It's for 6-5 defensive end Ben Martin of Cincinnati La Salle.

The 220-pound Martin is one of the state's top-ranked junior football players in Ohio. The Buckeyes and the Irish are hot on his trail.

"Yeah, right now that's it," Martin said. "Nobody else has really contacted me a lot. I get invited to games, but coaches aren't allowed to call so I've just pretty much met those coaches and we've gotten pretty close."

In fact, much of his focus has been on these two powerhouses. Early in the season, Martin ventured to Columbus to watch Ohio State against Texas in a showdown billed as to having national championship implications.

Just a few weeks later, he visited South Bend for a match-up Notre Dame had against another heavyweight undefeated – USC. 

On Sunday evening, Martin willingly compared the two football atmospheres for games about as exciting as you could possibly see in a college season.

"The Texas game at Ohio State that was real crazy. The atmosphere at both places, Notre Dame and Ohio State, was really loud and energetic before the game, but at Notre Dame you could just like feel the tradition at the game and when you walked on campus," Martin said. "Ohio State has tradition there but at Notre Dame you just felt it. The games though, the Ohio State game was way louder and they can fit more people, but the Notre Dame game was probably just as exciting."

This past weekend, Ohio State hosted Illinois and once again, Martin was on hand. 

Martin, who said he has talked to most all of the Buckeye coaches, including head coach Jim Tressel, talked a little bit about what he did while on his trip to Columbus Saturday.

"Pretty much all the coaches this weekend – Coach (John) Peterson, Coach (Jim) Tressel and some others. It's pretty nice up there," he said of Ohio State. "I walked around the campus a little bit, not too much really. It was the same stuff recruits do like hang out in the recruiting room and talk to some of the other recruits and coaches and stuff like that."

Neither Ohio State nor Notre Dame has offered yet, but Martin anticipates both will do so after signing day in February.

Next month, Martin will take both the ACT and SAT tests for the first time. He hopes to get high scores on both on the first try, but will take them again in April regardless. Martin reports a 3.4 GPA before the school year began, although he's uncertain of where he currently stands.

In college, Martin plans to major in education. On the field, he majors in disruption.

Martin runs a 4.6 40-yard dash and has registered over 70 tackles and 10 sacks this season.

It's no surprise that schools are showing a lot of interest in him. But for the most part, it remains the aforementioned two that have consistently recruited him.

However, Martin has a rather detailed agenda for his future. First and foremost, he hopes his high school team – which finished No. 9 in Ohio's Region 4, Division I narrowly missing the playoffs – will rebound for his senior year.

"This was a good season, obviously one of the best in our team's history," Martin said, "but obviously things didn't turn out as good as we wanted them to."

Secondly, he would like to attend several camps this summer. He had a few in names in his mind when pressed further.

"Two camps I want to go to are Ohio State and Notre Dame, but if I could, I would try to go down to a camp in Florida or somewhere down there to get away from here and into the warm weather or something like that," he joked. 

When push comes to shove, Martin will likely hear from many other colleges over the next year or two. 

However, it probably will come down to two – Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories