Since November, one-time UCLA commit Jonathan Martin has openly expressed his desire to attend Stanford. The interest has long been decidedly mutual, with the North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake School offensive tackle serving as the Cardinal's best hope for filling an acute need at tackle. Nonetheless, Martin and the Stanford coaches have both been forced to hedge their bets as Martin first completed his Stanford Admissions application and then endured nearly two months of waiting to hear the fateful answer. On Wednesday, Martin's wait was finally over.
"Coach [Chris] Dalman, the O-line coach, actually called me yesterday and told me that Admissions says that they're gonna accept me but I need to keep my grades up through the rest of my senior year," the new admit reports. "I'm definitely really, really excited to go to Stanford."
Given Martin's sky-high interest in Stanford and stated plans to head to Palo Alto for college if admitted, the positive response from Admissions simply cemented his commitment to Stanford. Martin is emphatically solid in his commitment, though he admits to having an important phone call still to make.
"I'm Stanford all the way," he affirms. "I just have yet to call the coaches to tell them that I'm committed. I'm probably going to do that though in like 10 minutes [laughs]."
Before dispensing with phone calls, Martin spent the past 24 hours enjoying the reward for his work in the classroom and on the football field. After the months of favoring Stanford but acknowledging the possibility that the Admissions door might not be open to him, the ultimate acceptance brought Martin special joy.
"I mean, it was amazing," Martin shares. "I remember when I first committed to UCLA last year. You know, I was really excited. But I mean it's just a completely different feeling because it's not only that they want me football-wise, they also want me academically. It just feels like a bigger accomplishment getting into Stanford than anywhere else."
Martin's acceptance to Stanford came on the heels of a redoubled academic effort as a senior in the hopes of raising his academic profile for Stanford Admissions. With a strong three-part junior year SAT of 2060 aiding his cause, Martin set to work at raising his grades from a B-average heading into the final year at prestigious Harvard-Westlake.
"It went pretty well," he says of his effort in the classroom. "My GPA is a couple of points over what it's been throughout my entire high school career. I've tried to leave on the way up."
While Martin waited the past two months to learn if his efforts would be enough to be admitted to Stanford, he ostensibly kept his recruitment open, entertaining interest from other suitors.
"UCLA was [still recruiting] until the coaching staff got fired and since then I haven't really heard from them," he reveals. "The only other place I've been talking to was Cal and now that I'm into Stanford, I have to call up the coaches and tell them where I'm at right now - that I'm going to go to Stanford."
In the midst of these overtures, Martin maintained his strong interest in Stanford and traveled up the coast for an official visit to Stanford in early December, when he was hosted by freshman offensive lineman Brad Hallick.
"It was really cool," he says of the visit. "I mean, all the people there were people I could see myself being friends with. I didn't really know what to expect when I went up there, but when I got there, I saw that these kids are just like me. I'm definitely really excited. I'm kind of shy because it takes me a while to get to know people, but I'm definitely excited to get up there and get to know the guys."
"I met most of the team," Martin continues. We had this players' panel where we got to talk to a bunch of the older players about their experience at Stanford and stuff. It's just cool talking to them."
The official visit also gave him a chance to spend time with the Stanford coaches who have been recruiting him and he reports a clear message from Stanford Offensive Line Coach Chris Dalman throughout the recruiting process.
"He just stressed to me that they have a critical need for tackles within the next two years and that I'll definitely have a great chance to play really early," he reveals. "He told me that he likes to redshirt his linemen, so I'm almost guaranteed to get a redshirt. But he said I could definitely be competitive for playing within my first couple of years or so."
As Stanford's sole offensive tackle commit in a year when the coaches targeted the position in order to fill holes on the roster, Martin indeed represents an important piece of the puzzle for Dalman moving forward. With the prospect of seeing the Harvard-Westlake product on the field on Saturdays in only a couple of years, Stanford fans may wonder what to call the 6'6.5" 265-pound lineman dubbed "Moose" by friends.
"I'm cool with Moose," Martin assures us. "I've been called Moose since like fifth grade."
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