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June 9, 2013

Martin's athleticism sets him apart

Manvel's Koda Martin is listed as a tight end by Rivals.com which is what he plays on offense in high school. Even so, Martin stands 6 foot 6 and has the frame to be much larger than his current listed weight of 245 pounds. His father (who also doubles as his high school coach) told AggieYell.com that he could be 295 pounds by the end of his redshirt freshman year in college. It's that kind of growth potential that led A&M to offer him as an offensive tackle even though the Aggies made increased use of the tight end in the spring and are actively recruiting other prospects at the position. I saw him play tight end last year in the state 7 on 7 tournament but he didn't necessarily jump out at you, especially as Manvel was loaded with skill position prospects like Kyrion Parker (who signed with the Aggies this past February and is already on A&M's campus this summer).

Because of the talent level on Manvel's offense last season, Martin had but five receptions last season as a tight end. Thus,most of Martin's film is at defensive end rather than tight end.

From an athletic standpoint as a defensive end, Martin can pop up out of his stance pretty quickly and get into people with a nice first step. That's a more important attribute for an offensive tackle who's got to be able to take on pass rushers. He can break down in his stance as well and stay low in it which means that despite his height he's going to be able to come off the ball and get into defenders for run blocking purposes. Even though he's nowhere close to being filled out, he still has good upper body strength and when he's one on one in a bull rush situation he forces the opponent to give ground, not the other way around. He knows how to use his hands and he doesn't let them stray to an opponent's shoulder pads where he will lose leverage. He gets them inside of a defender and keeps them inside.

It's his feet that have certainly caught A&M's attention. It's a given that he can run but even more importantly he has excellent lateral mobility. Thus, he's going to be a guy that can stay with the outside rushers of the SEC from a quickness standpoint but also have the length to be able to keep them at bay and away from his body. He's smart enough to be able to play both ways in high school and yet be sound technically either blocking someone or taking a blocker on. That comes in large part from the fact that his father is the head coach there at Manvel and with a background like that you know that he is going to develop even better once he focuses on one side of the ball.

Also, his father and Koda himself know the coaches not just at A&M but other institutions as well. Thus, in choosing A&M, the family did more than just take Koda's physical attributes and possible future position into account. They looked at what schools were best suited for his development and it didn't hurt that A&M is in the midst of producing high NFL draft picks in the offensive line. However, Martin's father knows A&M's staff well enough that he is trusting him to them and ultimately that played a large role in his commitment to A&M.

In ranking offensive tackles in the state of Texas this class a couple of weeks ago, I had A&M commit and Lakeview Centenntial product Kealvin Davis first and Martin second. Both are nowhere near as big physically as they will eventually be. Davis is in the process of rebuilding himself physically and Martin will get into A&M, quit playing both ways, and build himself up in weight room and training table. In fact, they are both similar in this regard physically to former four star Cedric Ogbuehi who came in at 6 foot 5 and 270 pounds in the 2010 class.

Even so, you're talking about two guys who have great feet and can move extremely well laterally. The A&M staff could have defaulted to size but their emphasis on finding people that can move means that they evaluated they needs correctly in light of the available talent within the state and landed the best available prospects. Ogbuehi needed a redshirt year to get up to the 300 pound range but was starting as a redshirt freshman at guard in 2011. The Davis/Martin duo may not be too far behind in their development cycle which is important given the fact that the Aggies will be losing Jake Matthews and Ogbuehi over the next couple of seasons and may only have Joseph Cheek and possibly Germain Ifedi (if he switches from guard) to man the tackle spots for 2015 and beyond.


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