Pat Martin back from Knoxville

Pat Martin, from Greenville's J.L. Mann Academy, committed to Tennessee in August prior to the season. He had been to Knoxville numerous times including the Vol's second game of the season against Oregon. However, on the ride back to South Carolina he described his official visit to UT as "the best weekend of my life"."

"It was great," said Pat Martin. "Getting a chance to hang out with all the players was definitely a highlight of the weekend. My player-host was Nigel (Mitchel-Thornton). We spent a lot of time with Corey Miller. They were regular people just like you and me. I'm looking forward to playing with those guys next year."

Martin, 6-0, 200, was offered by other SEC schools Arkansas, LSU, and South Carolina. Maryland, UCLA, and Wisconsin also offered Martin after a big junior season. Terry Joseph, who will serve as Martin's position coach at UT, was also his primary recruiter.

"We talk every day," said Martin on his relationship with Joseph. "During the visit we talked about how they like me as the No. 2 guy on the depth chart at strong safety and that I'll have a good chance to see early playing time. It was great getting to go over plays and looking ahead at what we're going to be doing when I get there."

As a senior Martin made 70 tackles, two interceptions, and returned a forced fumble he caused for a touchdown. Known for his tackling and the physical nature in his game, Martin was highly coveted by the new staff early on and that went a long way in deciding for the Vols.

"They told me they needed safeties," Martin said. "It felt good that they wanted me so bad. I was going to wait until signing day, but I decided they had everything I was looking for and to go ahead and get it out of the way. It turned out to be the right move because it allowed me to focus my schoolwork and qualifying. My grades have improved, and I'm taking the test this Saturday."

Close to a three hour drive from Greenville, Martin was accompanied by his father, mother, and little brother on this weekend's visit.

"They all loved it," stated Martin. "They loved the coaches and the campus. Hanging out with the players on the team Friday and Saturday night was probably the high point of the weekend for me. I hung out with Jordan Williams and Geraldo Orta from Georgia. I'd have to give the visit a perfect 10."

The Mann Patriots lost to T.L. Hanna in the 1st round of the playoffs ending Martin's prep career. Now he turns his focus into priming himself for the SEC grind.

"Right now I'm lifting and running, not playing any other sports," said Martin. "I'm going in next year (at UT) just trying to help the team as best as I can. I'll probably start out on special teams and try to make some big plays and work my way into the rotation in the secondary."

Martin is set to graduate at Mann in June. He wore No. 2 for the Patriots. The school's last Division 1 player was J.T. Floyd, the starting junior cornerback at Michigan.

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