HARPER WOODS, Mich.— With the 2015 football season well under way, many colleges are beginning to capitalize on early-season success. Perhaps no school is playing above its expectations, however, to the degree that Toledo is.
Ranked No. 19 in the country this week, Toledo is riding a stout 6-0 record, highlighted by a 16-12 road victory at Arkansas and, most recently, a 63-20 win over Eastern Michigan.
These results are indicative of a new culture in the Toledo program. Head coach Matt Campbell, in his fourth full season with the school, has instilled a desire for excellence and a strong football team is first foraged on the recruiting trail.
As such, Campbell is compiling an equally stout 2016 recruiting class, one that presently ranks at No. 2 in the conference with the addition of senior Chandler Park Academy wide receiver Jalen Martin on Wednesday.
I'm blessed and proud to announce that I have committed to #19 Ranked University of Toledo 🚀🚀🏈🏈💯💯💙💛 pic.twitter.com/0hvGsymVG5
— Jalen Martin (@Goals_1) October 21, 2015
At 6’3” and 205-pounds, Martin is rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com. And after watching him at various camps over the past two seasons, that ranking appears to be a bit modest.
During the offseason, Martin hit the camp circuit in Michigan with hopes of sharpening his skill-set and continuing to expand his recruiting profile. At Camp Pride, a premier skills camp held at Saginaw Valley State University, Martin received one of the MVP awards for his position, wide receiver. This set the tone for what was an impressive offseason for the Chandler Park senior.
Martin has the size and frame to play the X wide receiver position at the next level, along with soft hands, impeccable body control and a solid fundamental understanding of the game. While Martin has the strength to achieve separation at the top of his routes, his long-striding speed does not translate well at the line of scrimmage.
Still, Martin makes an impact in each phase of the game for Chandler Park. This season Martin has lined up as a wide receiver, tight end and defensive end in addition to special teams duties. The overall athleticism of Martin, who is also a double-double basketball player, secures his status as a formidable Division-I athlete.
With offers from Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Oh.), Western Michigan and Toledo, the senior athlete had a host of nearby colleges in pursuit. One year prior, Martin shared which factors he believed would play a large role in his collegiate commitment during an interview with Scout.com.
“First is education,” Martin said. “That’s before anything. Then second is really, because I know I will be willing to strive for greatness, is if the coaches are willing to help me and prepare me for the things that I will be coming against during the season for my years at the school and help me develop. That would be a great plus. I’m also looking for a team that comes together. Sometimes you will have your ups and downs, but it’s hard work— hard in practice and then the games. And the fan base plays a big role as well. A lot of fans that cheer you on and come to the games and wish the best for me, that’s a plus as well.”
So far in 2015, Toledo appears to be a team that possesses the resilient qualities Martin is searching for. With Martin in the fold, Toledo now has three true wide receivers committed in this cycle as the passing game looks to be a focus of Rockets’ offense moving forward.