Blue White Illustrated

May 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 56 of 67

M A Y 2 0 2 3 5 7 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M A rguably Penn State's most impor- tant recruit of the 2024 cycle, four- star athlete Quinton Martin made it official on April 7, announcing that he intends to sign with the Nittany Lions. The top-ranked player in Pennsylvania and the nation's No. 41 overall prospect according to the On3 Industry Ranking, Martin said that he and his family saw no reason to prolong his recruitment any further. "My family and I talked about it, and we were just ready to commit," he said. "We had our minds made up. We thought this was what was best for me, and we made it happen. "We got on the phone with Coach [James] Franklin. He said hello to the family and asked how everyone was do- ing, and then I just immediately told him that I'm 100 percent in, that I'm 100 per- cent ready." Martin's commitment had been a long time coming for Penn State. The Nittany Lions extended their offer more than two years earlier and hosted him much more often than any other school, with the Belle Vernon High standout traveling to State College nine times. The most recent of those visits was on March 23. Unlike all the previous vis- its, most of which were for games, this one was just Martin and his family. They were able to spend an entire day with the staff. The family had previously visited Pitt, and Martin also took multiple trips to Ohio State, Florida State, Miami, Michi- gan, Virginia Tech and West Virginia in 2022. Throughout his recruitment, Martin was open about wanting to stay close to home. His lead recruiters, running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, wanted to make sure that happened, too, and they built rela- tionships with just about everyone close to him along the way. "The commitment they showed me and my family was the biggest thing," Martin said. "It's not just that they've been 100 percent committed to me, but they've been committed to my family and helping us out in every way pos- sible." Listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Mar- tin is a true athlete in every sense of the word. Penn State recruited him as a run- ning back, but many schools liked him best as a defensive prospect. Because he's already on pace to enroll at PSU next January, it wouldn't be sur- prising if Franklin and his staff were to audition him at other spots. "I have no doubt that once I get up there and start practicing, they're going to move me around and be diverse with me," Martin said. "They're going to give me a little bit on defense, a little bit on offense. I'm hop- ing that happens, but I'm OK with what happens either way. I'm just all for doing whatever I need to do to help the team and get on the field." On3's scouts have ranked Martin as the No. 1 prospect in Pennsylvania and the No. 99 overall player nationally. He's the fifth in-state prospect to join the Li- ons' class. One of the others, three-star linebacker Anthony Speca of Pittsburgh Central Catholic, is a close friend. "I've known him since the fifth grade, so that definitely had a big impact on my decision," Martin said. "I wouldn't say it was the whole thing, but he definitely had a big impact." ■ Quinton Martin is an impressive athlete who doesn't yet have a solid home. He has shined at running back, but he also has vast potential on the opposite side of the ball. Here's a look at why the Lions are so excited to have him in their 2024 class: STRENGTHS Breakaway plays: Whether it's on a punt return, kick return, run or reception, Martin is a nightmare to track down once he gets to the second level. Coverage ability: Martin played cornerback his junior season for Belle Vernon. While that isn't his long-term home, those man cover- age skills could be useful elsewhere. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Power through contact: If he intends to play running back at the college level, he'll either have to develop incredible leg drive to overcome his upright running style, or he must learn to run with lower pads. PROJECTION Running back: His big-play capabilities and sound positional instincts make this a great bet. Wide receiver: James Franklin wants game-breakers on the outside, and Martin's run-after-the-catch skills could be special. Sam outside linebacker: At this position, Martin has the potential to develop into an elite coverage defender with the size to be a force in the run game. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N Pennsylvania's Top Prospect Is Staying Close To Home RYA N S N Y D E R | R YA N. S N Y D E R @ O N 3 . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE QUINTON MARTIN The No. 1 player in the Keystone State according to On3, Martin made nine visits to Penn State before commit- ting on April 7. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER

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