Antonio Martin Jr. was a 2022 running back that first stepped onto the varsity lineup a year ago for Langston Hughes team that was desperate for some offensive production. The shifty-yet-powerful back took those strong offensive exploits from his freshman year, then internalized that momentum into the offseason where he made some nice improvements physically.
“I feel I have improved most from last season to this season is with my speed and body,” the junior back remarked.
No doubt, over the last year we have seen Martin take his game to another level, and last Friday against a top 10 team at South Paulding, he toted the rock for one of the most spectacular plays during Week 8. Getting a hand-off around midfield, Martin squirted through the offensive guard and center quickly getting to the 2nd level of the defense where he was greeted by a duo of defenders.
Martin though, was not going down with out a fight. He stiff armed the first defender, taking him on a 5 yard journey, then with the 2nd defender coming into assist, the ever-adept back ducked under his arms, and then quickly escaped from the grasp of both defenders. The sophomore back was not done just yet, he used his impressive acceleration to blow by a few more defenders down the left sideline until he dove out of bounds just short of the pylon.
The energy and effort was spectacular, and with the help of the Langston Hughes community, Martin ended up with the 2nd most votes for our weekly top play with over 1300 in just 24 hours. It was a roller coaster of a run, which unfortunately mirrors the season his team has endured thus far with a 1-4 region record on the year so far.
“This season has been rocky from a team standpoint, but individually, I’ve had a pretty good season.” Martin continued, “I’ve carried the ball 133 times for 886 yards to go along with 10 rushing touchdowns.”
That 6.6 yard per carry for sophomore against one of the toughest region schedules in 6-A will certainly raise an eyebrow for most college coaches. The state of Martin’s recruitment would as well.
“I’ve heard from Ga State, Auburn, UAB who also offered me. I have fall visits set up for Georgia Tech and Duke.”
Martin is a strong believer in his actions being louder than his words, which is a common characteristic he shares with the back he models his game after.
“I model my game after Marshawn Lynch – he is powerful, agile and fast. Also, he’s a silent killer who doesn’t need to say to a lot.”
At 5’10” and already 195 lbs., Martin has the size of an upperclassmen already, and compact body type just blows though arm tackles with ease. Martin is a patient runner too, he reads his blocks well and knows when to hit the gas and accelerate up field. Martin’s top end speed is deceptive with how quickly he hits his last gear, and you see him blow by defenders with good pursuit angles.
Even though he’s just played two years of high school football so far, Martin reflected back on what he enjoys the most about playing on Friday nights. “My favorite part about Friday nights are giving my grandparents a show to tell everyone they know about it.”
Obviously, family matters for Martin, definitely something colleges should keep in mind for the 2022 back going down the road of his recruitment. As mentioned earlier, Martin holds just one FBS offer, and it is from UAB, but just watching his midseason film, there is plenty evidence that Martin will be coveted back in his class. One can imagine Martin holding double-digit offers this time a year from now, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to see the latest film and recruiting news on the sensational sophomore, and the rest of the athletes across the Peach State.