Following Tradition

Bolingbrook High School has established a factory for turning out solid Division 1 running backs. With the Raiders last two starting running backs contributing on the college level, junior Jamel Martin is looking to make it three, as his offer list continues to grow.

CHICAGO – Bolingbrook High School has long been known as a school for running backs, as alumni Dale Martin and Erik Smith are making an impact at the Division 1 level with Louisville and Wisconsin, respectively.

Junior running back Jamel Martin is well on his way to adding his name to that list next fall.

Despite splitting carries during his junior year, Martin (5-foot-11, 186 pounds) used his blazing 4.42 40 speed to rush for 800 yards, average 7.7 yards per carry and score 11 touchdowns for the Raiders.

At the Chicago Combine last month, Martin turned in a 4.50 in the short shuttle, 7.40 in the three-cone and a 9-7 in the broad jump. Martin also worked out as a running back and a wide receiver during one-on-one drills, showing his versatility and his moxy in the process.

"I was happy with the one-on-ones," Martin told Badger Nation. "That's my favorite thing to do because you get to compete with somebody. They bring the best out of me and I bring the best out of them."

When watching his junior film, Wisconsin fans can't help but see a lot of Smith's speed and shiftiness in Martin. Being teammates for two seasons, Martin studied diligently under Smith to improve his game, something the pair still talk about.

"I hung out with Erik all the time before he went to college, and we still keep in touch," Martin said. "When I came freshman year, I looked up to him. He was helping me out with things and helping me work on things. He showed me how to cut better and use my quickness to my advantage. Erik and I are like the same running back. We have similar stature and we aren't power backs. We are smooth runners."

With the Badgers coaching staff excited about Smith's potential, it's not a surprise recruiting coordinator Randall McCray has traveled to Bolingbrook to take a closer look and evaluate Martin. He isn't alone, however, as Martin has seen his recruitment grow since the combine ended.

With offers from Ball State, Colorado State, Indiana and Miami (OH), Martin is also drawing interest from Bowling Green, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Purdue and Western Michigan, where he will camp at with his teammates later this month.

"It wouldn't hurt to get some more offers, but I have some quality schools that are recruiting me right now," Martin said. "I am just going through the checklist so I can find a school that will treat me right."

With no set timetable that he wants to make his decision, Martin is moving forward with high expectations in the weight room and on the field.

"I want to be more of a bruiser," Martin said. "The speed is there and I can separate from people that are pursuing me. I would like to get a little tougher to take on those hits. It would be nice to have more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. Those are high numbers, but I think I can do it. Setting high goals help me work that much harder."

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