Giving it a Puncher's Chance

With an offense that doesn't put stock in throwing the football, Brother Rice wide receiver Kevonte Martin has to take advantage of the limited opportunities he gets. Going through a strenuous off-season workout, it's no surprise that Martin puts up the numbers he has.

CHICAGO - Every good high school football player knows the importance of how a solid off-season training program can benefit them the following season. Wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley is one of those athletes, but this athlete isn't joking around when it comes to working out.

Working with Pinklon Thomas, a former boxer that went 43-7-1 in his career and was the WBC heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1984, Martin has been pounding the hills, pushing the sleds and running with parachutes, all hoping to get that extra advantage in his game.

"Since my freshman year, I worked hard in the off season and I can see a difference," Martin told Badger Nation. "Some people go into the gym and not get tired. I go into the gym and I am so tired that I fall asleep once my head hits the bed. You hate it, but you love it once you see the payoff."

The payoff was evident at the Chicago Combine earlier this month. On a windy day on Chicago's north side, Martin registered a 4.7 40 running into the wind, but turned in one of the day's best performances with a 4.59 40-time with the wind at his back.

Since starting his off season training regiment, Martin has shaved four to five tenths off his 40-yard dash, but, just like his stats, Martin wants to do better.

Playing for an offense that rarely throws the football, Martin was still a standout player for Brother Rice (Mich.) High School. Catching 34 passes for 610 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, Martin has his sights even higher going into his senior year.

"I know I can do better," he said. "We only threw about 10 times a game, so it's hard to get 50 catches or 1,000 yards, but that's my goal this year – fifth catches, 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. I want some ‘numbers' numbers this year. No explanation points necessary to make people go ‘wow.'"

With Martin's dedication, college coaches have started to see the potential. Through the spring evaluation process, Martin has picked up offers from Toledo, Central Michigan and Bowling Green, an offer he got on Monday.

"It's exciting because my mom doesn't have to pay for school, so I have something to fall back," Martin said of the offers. "It's always good to have the opportunity to have a free education and play sports at the next level."

While pleased with the offers, Martin has set his sights much higher, as Martin has a goal of playing in the Big Ten. Hoping to get some Big Ten offers once more schools from the MAC Conference offer, Martin has been drawing interest from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

"I was running routes a couple weeks ago and Coach Alexander stopped by," said Martin of his contact with Wisconsin. "We talk a bunch and never about football, which I appreciate a lot. It shows that he cares about you as a person and not just what you do on the field. At college, it's been off and on the field that important. He's a cool guy and he's good."

Talking with Alexander about Wisconsin, the third-year wide receiver coach gave the indication that Wisconsin will offer Martin depending on what happens with other recruits.

"That would mean a lot to me (to get that offer)," Martin said. "Growing up, I have been watching the Big Ten and Michigan and Michigan State. I liked Michigan growing up, so getting a chance to participate in the Big Ten would be big."

Martin is no hurry to make his decision, as he hopes showcasing some of his skills in the early parts of his senior year will generate some more interest. By midseason, Martin will evaluate all his options and make a ‘confident commitment to a school.'

With the skill set that he has, Martin is going to make one school very pleased to add him to its receiving unit.

"I am a big target with good hands, good separation speed and good routes," he said. "I need to work on my cuts and coming out of my break lower and faster, but I have got what it takes."

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