Ruvell Martin Interview: Small school, big dream

Looking for a knock on Ruvell Martin, an undrafted free agent signed by the San Diego Chargers? <br><br> Hold a stop watch up and the concerns will mount. They were the same concerns that kept Kassim Osgood from getting drafted a year ago. Oz ended up making the team and contributing late in his rookie season.

In a pre-draft statement sent out from Ruvell Martin's agents, they acknowledge the speed issue:

"The biggest concern among NFL scouts is his speed, with a best clocking of 4.61 in the 40-yard dash."

What kept the clock ticking was a hamstring injury that took away his training time in February, a crucial month for draftees.

What was supposed to be a six week course that took into account running faster forty times turned into a rehab session with only a few days to work on the forty.

"My agents took me out to Chicago to train for pro timing days and that is one thing we tried to work on," Martin explained. "I got invited to the D-II all-star game and I pulled my hamstring. Right after that I was supposed to go to Chicago to train and get faster in the forty so when I was there I was doing a lot of rehab on my hamstring so I didn't ever really get a chance until the last week, last two weeks I was there, 100 percent going on my forty.

"With the trainer I would say I only had a week and a half of working on it with my trainer and even then we only worked on it twice a week as we worked on the other drills. So, I never really got a chance to work on it, but that was one of the goals and I was disappointed with that. With my hamstring and the way it was hurting it kind of only hurt me on the long strides so I was able to work on my short shuttle which is why those were pretty good."

No matter what the General Managers around the league tell you, a fast or slow forty time can make or break a potential draft pick.

Martin thought he had turned a significant corner when he caught five passes for 99 yards at the Division II all-star game in Texas in January. He added in a solid 37-inch vertical jump to go with his 6-4, 210-pound frame.

This after a season where Martin caught 54 passes for 632 yards as a senior at Saginaw Valley State.

Saginaw Valley State. Most Chargers fans had never known there was a school by that name. It couldn't have helped his chances coming from such a small school.

"I don't know," Martin said of how a small school may have hurt his chances. "I don't think so. I know we have played some good competition with Grand Valley making it to the National Finals three years in a row and they are in our conference. I have played them a total of six times. That is really good competition. I never knock where I came from. I came from a small school high school, a small college and that is something that I am used to. I don't see it as being a disadvantage."

Now Martin is following the same path as Kassim Osgood a year ago. Osgood is one of the players who has taken him under his wing. There were plenty of doubters for Osgood and the same holds true for Martin. Despite statistics that say he has the talent to play, Martin has set out to prove everyone wrong.

"That would be nice," Martin reflected. "That is always a motivation. If someone says that I can't do it. That is always motivational to go out there and prove them wrong. Even in college, coming from a small high school, and now coming from a small college it is more motivation to do my best.

Anything to make the final NFL roster.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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