Slippery Rock University graduate and former defensive end, Marcus Martin, has spent most of his career trying to stop offenses, but in the annual East-West Shrine game, he switched sides of the ball to play fullback and ended up scoring the only offensive touchdown of the game for the East Team, while gaining tons of new knowledge and experience.
“When you get to these all-star games, we all pretty much got there for the same reasons,” Martin said. “Practicing together, it’s amazing how many personalities click and how similar we all are.”
With just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Martin lined up in the eye formation as the fullback and after the snap of the ball, he rolled out to the sideline and found himself wide open in the flat and caught the touchdown pass from Ohio State senior quarterback J.T Barrett.
The East did, however, end up losing the ball game to the West 14-10 in the 93rd edition of the college football senior all-star game. Martin scored one of the only two offensive touchdowns of the game, as the West’s other touchdown came off a fumble taken back for a score. Martin was able to play his normal defensive end position along with fullback and special team, but there was also the potential to play middle linebacker, but that changed as the game progressed.
“I was pretty much all around at practice,” Martin said. “I was all over the field so it was hard to make a name for myself at a certain position because I was in and out all the time.”
Heading into preparation week for the Shrine Game, Martin didn’t know what to expect when he arrived in St. Petersburg, FL. The coaches asked him what other positions he would be interested in playing to show off his athletic ability and Martin was very interested in playing linebacker because he had started playing linebacker his freshman yeah of high school.
“Sometimes I wish I would’ve stuck with it and kept playing it, but who knows if I would be in the position I am in now if I would have played linebacker,” Martin said. “I feel I do have the athleticism to play linebacker, it’s just one of those things you got to keep practicing at it.”
During practice for the game, a linebacker got hurt, Martin said, which opened the opportunity to get so reps during practice, but then a tight end went down in practice. Martin then asked if he could try stepping in for that role because the teams use their tight ends as fullbacks in the all-star games. After a day of practice, the coaches told him they liked what they saw and told him he would be the fullback for the game.
Martin said that if it weren’t for the fact that most NFL teams don’t use a fullback anymore, he would really entertain the idea of making a full run at the position.
“Personally, say if every NFL team had a fullback on their team and they used them in every game, I would sit here and tell you that I wanted to play fullback,” Martin said. “But because teams don’t really use them as much, it’s almost like a dying breed, I would have to pick a sam linebacker.”
Since Jan. 14 Martin has been training out in New Jersey at Test Football Academy where he has been mostly working on strictly combine training to get his body where it needs to be. He does training six days a week from the morning till around three in the afternoon to fine tune his skills for the potential invite to the NFL Combine starting Feb 27 in Indianapolis, IN, which he should know very soon Martin said.
“I gotta prepare the same way and get ready to put up good numbers,” Martin said. “I really hope I do, so I can really showcase my talent on the full-scale stage and I think I’m going to put up some good numbers and I think I’ll open a lot of people’s eyes and if its on that large of a stage its going to mean a lot to me.”
If Martin gets the invitation, he should receive it within the next possibly the next two weeks, he mentioned, but if that doesn’t happen, Martin will still have his pro day in the spring to show off his many abilities. The East-West Shrine Game was Martin’s best opportunity to show what he can do, which has only led to more and more attention surrounding the former Rock defensive end, but it doesn’t seem to bother him at all.
“I think it affects others different than it affects me,” Martin said. “The stars are starting to a line, and my dreams are starting to become reality and it slowly happened, it didn’t all just happen at once so it is easier to control and understand.”